Flexible MEMS neural probe using polyimide and sucrose gel for reducing neuron damage

Flexible MEMS neural probe using polyimide and sucrose gel for reducing neuron damage
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This paper reports a flexible MEMS neural probe for chronic recording applications by reducing neuron damage. Various neural probes have been introduced to simultaneously record as well as stimulate multiple sites for studying brain function[1]. However, chronic neural recording has been challenged by the immune response which caused by the brain movement because it degrades electrode quality over time[2]. To solve this problem, flexible probes have been introduced by using flexible polymer or being coated with biodegradable polymer[3-5]to reduce brain damage. However, they should be thick enough to be inserted into the brain and it increase tissue damage during insertion. In this paper, we have proposed a new flexible probe coated with biodegradable polymer only at the flexible part to have strength during insertion(Fig1.). The implanted part is made of thin silicon and it can reduce damage during insertion. The probe has a flexible part which is composed of breakable silicon coated with polyimide as shown in Fig.2. After being broken, this region is coated with biodegradable sucrose-gel to make it hard to be inserted. When the probe is implanted into the brain, the flexible part is placed between cortex and skull. As time passes, the sucrose-gel will be dissolved in the brain and flexible polyimide will connect implanted probe to the platform[5]. Therefore, flexible part can be moved with brain and reduce brain damage. We performed in-vivo test to compare the damage from flexible probe with conventional probe(Fig6.). After 5 weeks, the brains were sliced and stained with DAPI(Fig7.). The result shows that the damaged region caused by flexible probe is 8 times smaller than the conventional probe(Fig7.). Thus, we concluded that this flexible probe can reduce the neural damage during and after insertion. Therefore, it can help to record neural signal in the long term chronic applications.
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