Although the use of extracellular microelectrode arrays (MEAs) permits simultaneous, cell-non-invasive, long-term recordings of extracellular field potentials generated by action potentials, they are 'blind' to subthreshold synaptic potentials generated by the individual neurons. On the other hand, intracellular recordings of the full electrophysiological repertoire are, at present, only obtained by sharp or patch microelectrodes. These, however, are limited to single cells at a time and for short durations. New techniques are arising that merge the advantages of extracellular MEAs and intracellular microelectrodes (like the nanowires depicted in the image). The Review by Spira and Hai describes these approaches, identifying their strengths and limitations.
Review Article p83
IMAGE: AVIAD HAI, ARIEL CHAI AND MICHA SPIRA
COVER DESIGN: ALEX WING