Adaptive self-healing electronic epineurium for chronic bidirectional neural interfaces

Adaptive self-healing electronic epineurium for chronic bidirectional neural interfaces
Issue Date
Nature Communications
VOL 11, 4195
Realizing a clinical-grade electronic medicine for peripheral nerve disorders is challenging owing to the lack of rational material design that mimics the dynamic mechanical nature of peripheral nerves. Electronic medicine should be soft and stretchable, to feasibly allow autonomous mechanical nerve adaptation. Herein, we report a new type of neural interface platform, an adaptive self-healing electronic epineurium (A-SEE), which can form compressive stress-free and strain-insensitive electronics-nerve interfaces and enable facile biofluid-resistant self-locking owing to dynamic stress relaxation and water-proof self-bonding properties of intrinsically stretchable and self-healable insulating/conducting materials, respectively. Specifically, the A-SEE does not need to be sutured or glued when implanted, thereby significantly reducing complexity and the operation time of microneurosurgery. In addition, the autonomous mechanical adaptability of the A-SEE to peripheral nerves can significantly reduce the mechanical mismatch at electronics-nerve interfaces, which minimizes nerve compression-induced immune responses and device failure. Though a small amount of Ag leaked from the A-SEE is observed in vivo (17.03 ppm after 32 weeks of implantation), we successfully achieved a bidirectional neural signal recording and stimulation in a rat sciatic nerve model for 14 weeks. In view of our materials strategy and in vivo feasibility, the mechanically adaptive self-healing neural interface would be considered a new implantable platform for a wide range application of electronic medicine for neurological disorders in the human nervous system.
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