Computer-Controlled Precision Fabrication of Custom Cellular-Scale Electrode Arrays and Accurate Insertion Tools
Neuroscience is limited by the difficulties and inconsistency in fabrication and surgical placement of precision recording electrodes in the brain. While electrophysiologic recording systems offer the advantage of extremely high temporal resolution and can access any part of the brain, current systems rely on human fabrication and lack accuracy, reproducibility, speed and scale. Furthermore some of the best electrode solutions are small in diameter rendering them less damaging but also more difficult to work with manually and place accurately in the brain.
The goal of this research is to transform the fabrication and implantation of custom cellular size neural electrode arrays and this work will culminate in high density electrical mapping the whole rat brain dynamics using 1024 electrodes. To accomplish this we will 1) create a 3D printed and micro-machined replacement for the top of the rodent skull to enable accurate placement of small electrodes, 2) automate assembly of complex neural recording arrays by creating a novel fabrication machine and 3) construct an array for brain-wide recording in the rat with 1024 channels and will validate our work by recording during natural sleep and wake brain state transitions.
At the conclusion of this work we aim to have created system to allow neuroscientists to design and implant custom subcellular-size microwire or silicon neural electrode arrays as well as optic fibers. This system is the foundation of our vision to establish an Automated Custom Neural Interface Fabrication (ACNIF) Service Center – a system for automated, fast, inexpensive and reliable production of neural arrays that can target any brain region with a variety of devices and which can continue to gain technical capacity as future brain interfaces are developed.