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, 8 (2), e56673

Nanowire-based Electrode for Acute in Vivo Neural Recordings in the Brain


Nanowire-based Electrode for Acute in Vivo Neural Recordings in the Brain

Dmitry B Suyatin et al. PLoS One.


We present an electrode, based on structurally controlled nanowires, as a first step towards developing a useful nanostructured device for neurophysiological measurements in vivo. The sensing part of the electrode is made of a metal film deposited on top of an array of epitaxially grown gallium phosphide nanowires. We achieved the first functional testing of the nanowire-based electrode by performing acute in vivo recordings in the rat cerebral cortex and withstanding multiple brain implantations. Due to the controllable geometry of the nanowires, this type of electrode can be used as a model system for further analysis of the functional properties of nanostructured neuronal interfaces in vivo.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Nanowire-based electrode for acute in vivo neuronal signal recordings.
(A) Scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of the nanowire-based electrode tip. (B) SEM image of the nanowire-based sensing region made with an array of freestanding vertical gallium phosphide nanowires covered with hafnium oxide and metal film. (C) Layout for the nanowire-based electrode. (D) Schematic for the nanowire geometry and the electrode layered structure.
Figure 2
Figure 2. Nanowire-based electrode impedance measured as a function of frequency in 0.9% w/v NaCl water solution.
The blue and green dots represent the impedance magnitude and the phase respectively. The black line shows an impedance magnitude calculated for a 200 pF capacitor. The electrode impedance dependence on frequency indicates that the nanowire-based electrodes are mainly coupled to the ionic current in saline solution through an electrolytic capacitor and corresponds to ∼100 µm2 Au surface area in contact with liquid.
Figure 3
Figure 3. Electrically evoked intracortical field potentials recorded in the rat primary somatosensory cortex (acute measurements).
(A) Simultaneous recordings using a nanowire-based electrode and a microwire electrode glued together and implanted 400 µm below the cortex surface (averaged over 32 sweeps). (B) Depth profile of evoked Aβ-fiber potential (filled boxes) recorded by the nanowire-based electrode (plotted for each depth as the peak-valley amplitude, with an onset latency between 10 ms and 20 ms after the stimulation) and correlation coefficients (filled circles) calculated for measurements performed simultaneously with the nanowire-based electrode and the microwire (calculated for the measured data sets of time interval up to 0.43 ms after the stimulation). The measurements show that the neuronal signal is primarily recorded with the nanowire-based sensing part and that the nanowire-based electrode provides acute in vivo recordings that are comparable to conventional microelectrodes.
Figure 4
Figure 4. Spontaneous neuron activity recorded with a nanowire-based electrode in the rat primary somatosensory cortex (acute measurements).
(A) Raw data with 1811 spikes detected; (B) zoomed region with a neuronal burst; (C) isolated single unit from the recordings in (A), the grid size in x-direction is 0.2 ms; (D) spike cluster view in the principle component space. The cluster corresponds to an isolated single unit as presented in (C). The dashed yellow ellipse in (D) represents the standard deviation for the cluster along the principal component axes and the outer yellow border includes all 213 neural spikes in the cluster. The neuronal unit sorting is based on cluster recognition in principle component space. Here PC1 and PC2 stand for the first and second principle components. (E) The autocorrelation histogram for spike events within the unit, the bin size is 3 ms. The inter spike interval (ISI) for the spike sorting was set to 1.5 ms and resulted in 0.0% spike interference ratio.
Figure 5
Figure 5. SEM images of the nanowires modified sensing site.
The site image presented after a single implantation (A) and after multiple implantations (B) into rat cortex. The same nanowires-based electrode before any implantation can be seen in Figure 1B. Some tissue deposition on the probe after multiple implantations can be seen in Figure 5B.
Figure 6
Figure 6. Photograph of the implantation experimental set-up.
The nanowire-based electrode is electrically connected to a preamplifier and fixated on a micromanipulator for implantation into the rat cortex. The yellow wire to the right was used as an animal ground.

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Grant support

This work was supported by the Swedish Research Council (VR) Linnaeus grant No. 80658701 and VR project No. 621-2009-3266 and The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation project No. KAW 2004.0119. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.