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Micromachines 2018, 9(3), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9030131

Silicon-Based Microfabrication of Free-Floating Neural Probes and Insertion Tool for Chronic Applications

1
Institute for Microsensors, -actuators and -systems (IMSAS), University of Bremen, Bremen 28359, Germany
2
Brain Research Institute, University of Bremen, Bremen 28359, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 January 2018 / Revised: 6 March 2018 / Accepted: 14 March 2018 / Published: 16 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silicon-based Micro/Nanofabrication for Biomedical Applications)
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Abstract

Bidirectional neural interfaces for multi-channel, high-density recording and electrical stimulation of neural activity in the central nervous system are fundamental tools for neuroscience and medical applications. Especially for clinical use, these electrical interfaces must be stable over several years, which is still a major challenge due to the foreign body response of neural tissue. A feasible solution to reduce this inflammatory response is to enable a free-floating implantation of high-density, silicon-based neural probes to avoid mechanical coupling between the skull and the cortex during brain micromotion. This paper presents our latest development of a reproducible microfabrication process, which allows a monolithic integration of a highly-flexible, polyimide-based cable with a silicon-stiffened neural probe at a high resolution of 1 µm. For a precise and complete insertion of the free-floating probes into the cortex, a new silicon-based, vacuum-actuated insertion tool is presented, which can be attached to commercially available electrode drives. To reduce the electrode impedance and enable safe and stable microstimulation an additional coating with the electrical conductive polymer PEDOT:PSS is used. The long-term stability of the presented free-floating neural probes is demonstrated in vitro and in vivo. The promising results suggest the feasibility of these neural probes for chronic applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: neural probe; floating implantation; chronic recording; long-term stability; intracortical; PEDOT:PSS; polyimide; silicon probe neural probe; floating implantation; chronic recording; long-term stability; intracortical; PEDOT:PSS; polyimide; silicon probe
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Schander, A.; Stemmann, H.; Kreiter, A.K.; Lang, W. Silicon-Based Microfabrication of Free-Floating Neural Probes and Insertion Tool for Chronic Applications. Micromachines 2018, 9, 131.

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