Sputtered iridium oxide films (SIROFs) deposited by DC reactive sputtering from an iridium metal target have been characterized in vitro for their potential as neural recording and stimulation electrodes. SIROFs were deposited over gold metallization on flexible multielectrode arrays fabricated on thin (15 microm) polyimide substrates. SIROF thickness and electrode areas of 200-1300 nm and 1960-125,600 microm(2), respectively, were investigated. The charge-injection capacities of the SIROFs were evaluated in an inorganic interstitial fluid model in response to charge-balanced, cathodal-first current pulses. Charge injection capacities were measured as a function of cathodal pulse width (0.2-1 ms) and potential bias in the interpulse period (0.0 to 0.7 V vs. Ag|AgCl). Depending on the pulse parameters and electrode area, charge-injection capacities ranged from 1-9 mC/cm(2), comparable with activated iridium oxide films (AIROFs) pulsed under similar conditions. Other parameters relevant to the use of SIROF on nerve electrodes, including the thickness dependence of impedance (0.05-10(5) Hz) and the current necessary to maintain a bias in the interpulse region were also determined.
(c) 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.