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Micromachined Devices for Interfacing Neurons

: Stieglitz, T.; Beutel, H.; Blau, C.; Meyer, J.-U.


Wuttig, M.:
Smart structures and materials 1998 - Smart materials technologies : 4 - 5 March 1998, San Diego
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 1998 (SPIE Proceedings 3324)
ISBN: 0-8194-2768-3
Symposium "Smart Structures and Materials" <5, 1998, San Diego>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IBMT ()

Micromachining technologies were established to fabricate microelectrode arrays and devices for interfacing parts of the central or peripheral nervous system. The devices were part of a neural prosthesis that allows simultaneous multichannel recording and multisite stimulation of neurons. Overcoming the brittle mechanics of silicon devices and challenging housing demands close to the nerve we established a process technology to fabricate light-weighted and highly flexible polyimide based devices. Platinum and iridium thin-film electrodes were embedded in the polyimide. With reactive ion etching we got the possibility to simply integrate interconnections and to form nearly arbitrary outer shapes of the devices. We designed multichannel devices with up to 24 electrodes in the shape of plates, hooks and cuffs for different applications. In vitro tests exhibited stable electrode properties and no cytotoxicity of the materials and the devices. Sieve electrodes were chronically implanted in rats to interface the regenerating sciatic nerve. After six months, recordings and stimulation of the nerve via electrodes on the micro-device proved functional reinnervation of the limb. Concentric circular structures were designed for a retina implant for the blind. In preliminary studies in rabbits, evoked potentials in the visual cortex corresponded to stimulation sites of the implant.