Electrical interfacing with neural tissue is key to advancing diagnosis and therapies for neurological disorders, as well as providing detailed information about neural signals. A challenge for creating long-term stable interfaces between electronics and neural tissue is the huge mechanical mismatch between the systems. So far, materials and fabrication processes have restricted the development of soft electrode grids able to combine high performance, long-term stability, and high electrode density, aspects all essential for neural interfacing. Here, this challenge is addressed by developing a soft, high-density, stretchable electrode grid based on an inert, high-performance composite material comprising gold-coated titanium dioxide nanowires embedded in a silicone matrix. The developed grid can resolve high spatiotemporal neural signals from the surface of the cortex in freely moving rats with stable neural recording quality and preserved electrode signal coherence during 3 months of implantation. Due to its flexible and stretchable nature, it is possible to minimize the size of the craniotomy required for placement, further reducing the level of invasiveness. The material and device technology presented herein have potential for a wide range of emerging biomedical applications.
Keywords: nanowires; neural electrodes; neural interfaces; soft electronics; stretchable electronics.
© 2018 The Authors. Published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.