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Special Issue "MEMS/NEMS for Neuroscience"

A special issue of Micromachines (ISSN 2072-666X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 May 2017

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Nikos Chronis

Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1-734-763-0154
Fax: +1-734-615-6647
Interests: bio-MEMS; lab-on-a-chip systems; microfluidics and micro-optics; polymer micromachining; bio-imaging; neural networks

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Micro and Nano Electromechanical Systems (MEMS/NEMS) are increasingly used in a variety of applications in the field of neuroscience. Studies on single neurons, networks of cultured neurons and organoids, small model organisms, brain mapping, and stimulation have been greatly benefited by the use of microfluidic/lab-on-chip systems, neural probes, implantable biosensors, and microactuators. Key element of MEMS technology is its ability to interact with neurons and neuronal tissue through mechanical, optical, chemical, or electrical means with a high spatiotemporal accuracy. This Special Issue seeks to highlight recent advances of MEMS/NEMS technology in the field of basic and applied neuroscience, at the cellular and organism level. MEMS/NEMS tools for manipulating neuronal activity in vitro or in vivo are of special interest.

Prof. Dr. Nikos Chronis
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Micromachines is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • brain-on-chip
  • lab-on-chip
  • microfluidics
  • biosensors
  • neural probes
  • neural dynamics
  • neural networks
  • neural imaging
  • neural interfaces

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Microfluidic Neurons, a New Way in Neuromorphic Engineering?
Micromachines 2016, 7(8), 146; doi:10.3390/mi7080146
Received: 20 July 2016 / Revised: 14 August 2016 / Accepted: 18 August 2016 / Published: 22 August 2016
PDF Full-text (5529 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article describes a new way to explore neuromorphic engineering, the biomimetic artificial neuron using microfluidic techniques. This new device could replace silicon neurons and solve the issues of biocompatibility and power consumption. The biological neuron transmits electrical signals based on ion flow
[...] Read more.
This article describes a new way to explore neuromorphic engineering, the biomimetic artificial neuron using microfluidic techniques. This new device could replace silicon neurons and solve the issues of biocompatibility and power consumption. The biological neuron transmits electrical signals based on ion flow through their plasma membrane. Action potentials are propagated along axons and represent the fundamental electrical signals by which information are transmitted from one place to another in the nervous system. Based on this physiological behavior, we propose a microfluidic structure composed of chambers representing the intra and extracellular environments, connected by channels actuated by Quake valves. These channels are equipped with selective ion permeable membranes to mimic the exchange of chemical species found in the biological neuron. A thick polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) membrane is used to create the Quake valve membrane. Integrated electrodes are used to measure the potential difference between the intracellular and extracellular environments: the membrane potential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MEMS/NEMS for Neuroscience)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessFeature PaperReview Neural Circuits on a Chip
Micromachines 2016, 7(9), 157; doi:10.3390/mi7090157
Received: 22 July 2016 / Revised: 20 August 2016 / Accepted: 29 August 2016 / Published: 5 September 2016
PDF Full-text (10234 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Neural circuits are responsible for the brain’s ability to process and store information. Reductionist approaches to understanding the brain include isolation of individual neurons for detailed characterization. When maintained in vitro for several days or weeks, dissociated neurons self-assemble into randomly connected networks
[...] Read more.
Neural circuits are responsible for the brain’s ability to process and store information. Reductionist approaches to understanding the brain include isolation of individual neurons for detailed characterization. When maintained in vitro for several days or weeks, dissociated neurons self-assemble into randomly connected networks that produce synchronized activity and are capable of learning. This review focuses on efforts to control neuronal connectivity in vitro and construct living neural circuits of increasing complexity and precision. Microfabrication-based methods have been developed to guide network self-assembly, accomplishing control over in vitro circuit size and connectivity. The ability to control neural connectivity and synchronized activity led to the implementation of logic functions using living neurons. Techniques to construct and control three-dimensional circuits have also been established. Advances in multiple electrode arrays as well as genetically encoded, optical activity sensors and transducers enabled highly specific interfaces to circuits composed of thousands of neurons. Further advances in on-chip neural circuits may lead to better understanding of the brain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MEMS/NEMS for Neuroscience)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Implantation Study of Elongated Porous Silicon Microelectrodes Arrays in Rat Cortex
Author: Vamsy P. Chodavarapu
Abstract: Neural microprobes represent an important component of neural prosthetic systems where implanted microelectrodes record the electro-potentials generated by specific thoughts and convey the signals to algorithms trained to interpret these thoughts. We present novel elongated multi-site neural electrodes that can reach lengths longer than 10mm. We hypothesize that reaching such lengths allow the recording of cognitive signals required to derive cognitive prosthetics. The impedance of our electrode recordings sites was around 500 KΩ range at 1 kHz, which is consistent with electrodes needed for neurophysiological recordings. The electrodes were made porous using Xenon Difluoride (XeF2) dry etching to improve the biocompatibility and the adherence of the probes to the surrounding neural tissue. Numerical studies were performed to determine the reliability of the porous electrodes. We implanted the elongated probe in rat barrel cortex and show that the elongated electrodes are capable of simultaneously recording both spikes and local field potentials (LFPs) from several recording sites.

Title: Microfluidic device that mimics neurons for hybrid experiments
Author: Timothée Levi
Abstract: This article describes a new way to explore in the neuromorphic engineering, the biomimetic artificial neuron using microfluidic techniques. This new device could replace the electronic one and solve most of the issues of biocompatibility and power consumption. The biological neuron transmits electrical signals based on ion flow through their plasma membrane. Action potentials are propagated along axons and represent the fundamental electrical signals by which information are transmitted from one place to another in the nervous system. Based on this physiological behavior, we propose a microfluidic structure composed of chambers representing the intra and extracellular environments, connected by channels actuated by Quake valves. These channels are equipped with selective ion permeable membranes to mimic the exchange of species found in the biological neuron. Thick PDMS membrane is used to create the Quake valve membrane. Integrated electrodes are used to measure the potential difference between the intracellular and extracellular environments: the membrane potential.

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