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Fully Printed μ‑Needle Electrode Array from Conductive Polymer Ink for Bioelectronic Applications

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journal contribution
posted on 29.08.2019, 13:36 by Sabine Zips, Leroy Grob, Philipp Rinklin, Korkut Terkan, Nouran Yehia Adly, Lennart Jakob Konstantin Weiß, Dirk Mayer, Bernhard Wolfrum
Microelectrode arrays (MEAs) are widely used platforms in bioelectronics to study electrogenic cells. In recent years, the processing of conductive polymers for the fabrication of three-dimensional electrode arrays has gained increasing interest for the development of novel sensor designs. Here, additive manufacturing techniques are promising tools for the production of MEAs with three-dimensional electrodes. In this work, a facile additive manufacturing process for the fabrication of MEAs that feature needle-like electrode tips, so-called μ-needles, is presented. To this end, an aerosol-jet compatible PEDOT:PSS and multiwalled carbon nanotube composite ink with a conductivity of 323 ± 75 S m–1 is developed and used in a combined inkjet and aerosol-jet printing process to produce the μ-needle electrode features. The μ-needles are fabricated with a diameter of 10 ± 2 μm and a height of 33 ± 4 μm. They penetrate an inkjet-printed dielectric layer to a height of 12 ± 3 μm. After successful printing, the electrochemical properties of the devices are assessed via cyclic voltammetry and impedance spectroscopy. The μ-needles show a capacitance of 242 ± 70 nF at a scan rate of 5 mV s–1 and an impedance of 128 ± 22 kΩ at 1 kHz frequency. The stability of the μ-needle MEAs in aqueous electrolyte is demonstrated and the devices are used to record extracellular signals from cardiomyocyte-like HL-1 cells. This proof-of-principle experiment shows the μ-needle MEAs’ cell-culture compatibility and functional integrity to investigate electrophysiological signals from living cells.

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