Soft High-Resolution Neural Interfacing Probes: Materials and Design Approaches

Nano Lett. 2019 May 8;19(5):2741-2749. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b04895. Epub 2019 Apr 24.


Neural interfacing probes are located between the nervous system and the implanted electronic device in order to acquire information on the complex neuronal activity and to reconstruct impaired neural connectivity. Despite remarkable advancement in recent years, conventional neural interfacing is still unable to completely accomplish these goals, especially in long-term brain interfacing. The major limitation arises from physical and mechanical differences between neural interfacing probes and neural tissues that cause local immune responses and production of scar cells near the interface. Therefore, neural interfaces should ideally be extremely soft and have the physical scale of cells to mitigate the boundary between biotic and abiotic systems. Soft materials for neural interfaces have been intensively investigated to improve both interfacing and long-term signal transmission. The design and fabrication of micro and nanoscale devices have drastically decreased the stiffness of probes and enabled single-neuron measurement. In this Mini Review, we discuss materials and design approaches for developing soft high-resolution neural probes intended for long-term brain interfacing and outline existent challenges for achieving next-generation neural interfacing probes.

Keywords: Neural probes; bioelectronics; neural chronic recording; soft electronics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain-Computer Interfaces*
  • Electrodes, Implanted*
  • Electronics
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular / physiology
  • Neural Conduction / physiology
  • Neurons / immunology
  • Neurons / physiology*