Klas Tybrandt, principal investigator at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics, has developed new technology for long-term stable neural recording. It is based on a novel elastic material composite, which is biocompatible and retains high electrical conductivity even when stretched to double its original length.
The result has been achieved in collaboration with colleagues in Zürich and New York. The breakthrough, which is crucial for many applications in biomedical engineering, is described in an article published in the prestigious scientific journal Advanced Materials.
The coupling between electronic components and nerve cells is crucial not only to collect information about cell signalling, but also to diagnose and treat neurological disorders and diseases, such as epilepsy.
It is very challenging to achieve long-term stable connections that do not damage neurons or tissue, since the two systems, the soft and elastic tissue of the body and the hard and rigid electronic components, have completely different mechanical properties.
“As human tissue is elastic and mobile, damage and inflammation arise at the interface with rigid electronic components. It not only causes damage to tissue; it also attenuates neural signals,” says Klas Tybrandt, leader of the Soft Electronics group at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics, Linköping University, Campus Norrköping.
New conductive material
Klas Tybrandt has developed a new conductive material that is as soft as human tissue and can be stretched to twice its length. The material consists of gold coated titanium dioxide nanowires, embedded into silicone rubber. The material is biocompatible – which means it can be in contact with the body without adverse effects – and its conductivity remains stable over time.
“The microfabrication of soft electrically conductive composites involves several challenges. We have developed a process to manufacture small electrodes that also preserves the biocompatibility of the materials. The process uses very little material, and this means that we can work with a relatively expensive material such as gold, without the cost becoming prohibitive,” says Klas Tybrandt.
The electrodes are 50 µm in size and are located at a distance of 200 µm from each other. The fabrication procedure allows 32 electrodes to be placed onto a very small surface. The final probe, shown in the photograph, has a width of 3.2 mm and a thickness of 80 µm.
The soft microelectrodes have been developed at Linköping University and ETH Zürich, and researchers at New York University and Columbia University have subsequently implanted them in the brain of rats. The researchers were able to collect high-quality neural signals from the freely moving rats for 3 months. The experiments have been subject to ethical review, and have followed the strict regulations that govern animal experiments.
Important future applications
“When the neurons in the brain transmit signals, a voltage is formed that the electrodes detect and transmit onwards through a tiny amplifier. We can also see which electrodes the signals came from, which means that we can estimate the location in the brain where the signals originated. This type of spatiotemporal information is important for future applications. We hope to be able to see, for example, where the signal that causes an epileptic seizure starts, a prerequisite for treating it. Another area of application is brain-machine interfaces, by which future technology and prostheses can be controlled with the aid of neural signals. There are also many interesting applications involving the peripheral nervous system in the body and the way it regulates various organs,” says Klas Tybrandt.
Learn more: Capturing brain signals with soft electronics
The Latest on: Soft electronics
- Soft-touch TPEs for auto interior console roller shutters on September 18, 2018 at 11:37 pm
Kraiburg TPE’s VS/AD/HM series offers optimal mechanical properties making it an excellent choice for automotive interior and consumer electronics applications. “Kraiburg TPE soft-touch compounds open ... […]
- Robot Jellyfish Primed to Protect the World’s Oceans on September 18, 2018 at 2:49 pm
The team decided to target their soft robotics tech toward jellyfish swimming methods ... Jellyfish control was obtained using a Teensy USB development board, and the electronics and sensors were hous... […]
- Soft August Retail Sales a Temporary Hitch? 5 Stocks to Buy on September 17, 2018 at 6:18 am
Analysts also cited high gasoline prices as one of the prominent reasons behind soft sales in other categories ... We note that receipts at gasoline stations rose 1.7%, while sales at electronics & ap... […]
- DELSEY CHATELET SOFT AIR brings elegance and sophistication to carry-on travel on September 11, 2018 at 6:33 am
The deluxe soft-touch interior is lined with rich Bordeaux ... dual compartment makes it easy to transport anything, from books to electronics, to overnighter essentials! Adjustable shoulder ... […]
- Soft Skills Management Market to Witness Robust Expansion by 2025 - QY Research, Inc. on September 7, 2018 at 12:10 pm
This report focuses on the global Soft Skills Management status, future forecast, growth opportunity, key market and key players. The study objectives are to present the Soft Skills Management develop... […]
- Aircraft Soft Goods Market to Reach US$ 782.7 million in 2023 on September 7, 2018 at 6:58 am
Aircraft Soft Goods Market by Aircraft Type (Commercial Aircraft ... Consumer Goods, Construction & Equipment, Electronics and Semiconductors, Energy & Utility, Healthcare & Life Sciences, and Oil & G... […]
- Why Scientists Are Using Frog Eggs to Power Tiny Electronics on September 5, 2018 at 4:00 am
Then he deftly punctures the membrane of the soft little egg to wire it to a small capacitor ... s attempt to harvest energy from biological cells to power tiny electronics. Each of these frog eggs is ... […]
- Beijer Electronics Launches its X2 Extreme Products with Soft PLC… on August 30, 2018 at 12:34 am
Beijer Electronics presents the X2 extreme line of rugged HMIs with integrated IEC 6113103 for harsh environments. The panel-mount X2 extreme HMIs models come with high-performance CPUs, high-bright d... […]
- Beijer Electronics Launches its X2 Extreme Products with Soft PLC Functionality on August 30, 2018 at 12:27 am
SALT LAKE CITY, Aug. 30, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The panel-mount X2 extreme units with integrated CODESYS IEC 61131-3 soft PLC functionality are designed to be deployed into harsh industrial enviro... […]
- Beijer Electronics Launches its X2 Extreme Products with Soft PLC Functionality on August 29, 2018 at 5:00 pm
Beijer Electronics presents the X2 extreme line of rugged HMIs with integrated IEC 6113103 for harsh environments. SALT LAKE CITY, Aug. 30, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The panel-mount X2 extreme units ... […]
via Google News and Bing News