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Carbon Fiber On Polyimide Ultra-Microelectrodes

By Winthrop Gillis, Charles A. Lissandrello, Jun Shen, Ben W Pearre, Alket Mertiri, Felix Deku, Stuart Cogan, Bradley J Holinski, Daniel J Chew, Alice E White, Timothy J. Gardner, Timothy M. Otchy

Posted 04 Apr 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/123281 (published DOI: 10.1088/1741-2552/aa8c88)

Most preparations for making neural recordings degrade over time and eventually fail due to insertion trauma and reactive tissue response. The magnitudes of these responses are thought to be related to the electrode size (specifically, the cross-sectional area) and the relative stiffness of the electrode material. Carbon fiber ultra-microelectrodes have a much smaller cross-section than traditional electrodes and thus may enable improved longevity of neural recordings in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Only two carbon fiber array designs have been described previously, each with limited channel densities due to limitations of the fabrication processes or interconnect strategies. Here, we describe a method for assembling carbon fiber electrodes on a flexible polyimide substrate that will facilitate the construction of high-density recording and stimulating arrays for acute use in peripheral nerves. Fibers were aligned using an alignment tool that was 3D-printed with sub-micron resolution using direct laser writing. Indium deposition on the carbon fibers provided a robust and reliable method of electrical connection to the polyimide traces. Spontaneous action potentials and stimulation-evoked compound responses with SNR > 10 and > 120, respectively, were recorded from a small (125 μm) peripheral nerve. We also improved the typically poor charge injection capacity of small diameter carbon fibers can be improved by electrodepositing 100 nm thick iridium oxide films, making the carbon fiber arrays suitable for electrical stimulation as well as recording.

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