Characterization of flexible ECoG electrode arrays for chronic recording in awake rats

J Neurosci Methods. 2008 Aug 30;173(2):279-85. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2008.06.024. Epub 2008 Jul 3.


We developed a 64-channel flexible polyimide ECoG electrode array and characterized its performance for long-term implantation, chronic cortical recording and high resolution mapping of surface-evoked potentials in awake rats. To achieve the longest possible recording periods, the flexibility of the electrode array, adhesion between the metals and carrier substrate, and biocompatibility were critical for maintaining the signal integrity. Experimental testing of thin film adhesion was applied to a gold-polyimide system in order to characterize relative interfacial fracture energies for several different adhesion layers, yielding an increase in overall device reliability. We tested several different adhesion techniques including the following: gold alone without an adhesion layer, titanium-tungsten, tantalum and chromium. We found titanium-tungsten to be a suitable adhesion layer considering the biocompatibility requirements as well as stability and delamination resistance. While chromium and tantalum produced stronger gold adhesion, concerns over biocompatibility of these materials require further testing. We implanted the polyimide ECoG electrode arrays through a slit made in the skull of rats and recorded cortical surface evoked responses. The arrays performed reliably over a period of at least 100 days and signals compared well with traditional screw electrodes, with better high frequency response characteristics. Since the ultimate goal of chronically implanted electrode arrays is for neural prosthetic devices that need to last many decades, other adhesion layers that would prove safe for implantation may be tested in the same way in order to improve the device reliability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / standards
  • Brain Mapping / instrumentation
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Electrodes, Implanted / standards
  • Electrodes, Implanted / trends
  • Electroencephalography / instrumentation*
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Electronics, Medical / instrumentation
  • Electronics, Medical / methods
  • Electrophysiology
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gold / chemistry
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Time
  • Time Factors
  • Titanium / chemistry
  • Tungsten / chemistry
  • Wakefulness / physiology*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Gold
  • Titanium
  • Tungsten