Ultra-Capacitive Carbon Neural Probe Allows Simultaneous Long-Term Electrical Stimulations and High-Resolution Neurotransmitter Detection.

Research paper by Surabhi S Nimbalkar, Elisa E Castagnola, Arvind A Balasubramani, Alice A Scarpellini, Soshi S Samejima, Abed A Khorasani, Adrien A Boissenin, Sanitta S Thongpang, Chet C Moritz, Sam S Kassegne

Indexed on: 05 May '18Published on: 05 May '18Published in: Scientific Reports


We present a new class of carbon-based neural probes that consist of homogeneous glassy carbon (GC) microelectrodes, interconnects and bump pads. These electrodes have purely capacitive behavior with exceptionally high charge storage capacity (CSC) and are capable of sustaining more than 3.5 billion cycles of bi-phasic pulses at charge density of 0.25 mC/cm. These probes enable both high SNR (>16) electrical signal recording and remarkably high-resolution real-time neurotransmitter detection, on the same platform. Leveraging a new 2-step, double-sided pattern transfer method for GC structures, these probes allow extended long-term electrical stimulation with no electrode material corrosion. Cross-section characterization through FIB and SEM imaging demonstrate strong attachment enabled by hydroxyl and carbonyl covalent bonds between GC microstructures and top insulating and bottom substrate layers. Extensive in-vivo and in-vitro tests confirmed: (i) high SNR (>16) recordings, (ii) highest reported CSC for non-coated neural probe (61.4 ± 6.9 mC/cm), (iii) high-resolution dopamine detection (10 nM level - one of the lowest reported so far), (iv) recording of both electrical and electrochemical signals, and (v) no failure after 3.5 billion cycles of pulses. Therefore, these probes offer a compelling multi-modal platform for long-term applications of neural probe technology in both experimental and clinical neuroscience.