Heim M., Rousseau L., Reculusa S., Urbanova V., Mazzocco C., Joucla S., Bouffier L., Vytras K., Bartlett P., Kuhn A., Yvert B.
Journal of Neurophysiology 2012, 15, 1793-1803.

Microelectrode arrays (MEAs) are appealing tools to probe large neural ensembles and build neural prostheses. Microelectronics microfabrication technologies now allow building high-density MEAs containing several hundreds of microelectrodes. However, several major problems become limiting factors when the size of the microelectrodes decreases. In particular, regarding recording of neural activity, the intrinsic noise level of a microelectrode dramatically increases when the size becomes small (typically below 20-μm diameter). Here, we propose to overcome this limitation using a template-based, single-scale meso- or two-scale macro-/mesoporous modification of the microelectrodes, combining the advantages of an overall small geometric surface and an active surface increased by several orders of magnitude. For this purpose, standard platinum MEAs were covered with a highly porous platinum overlayer obtained by lyotropic liquid crystal templating possibly in combination with a microsphere templating approach. These porous coatings were mechanically more robust than Pt-black coating and avoid potential toxicity issues. They had a highly increased active surface, resulting in a noise level 3 times smaller than that of conventional flat electrodes. This approach can thus be used to build highly dense arrays of small-size microelectrodes for sensitive neural signal detection.


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