American Chemical Society
nl8b04456_si_001.pdf (1.88 MB)

Soft and MRI Compatible Neural Electrodes from Carbon Nanotube Fibers

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-02-24, 00:00 authored by Linlin Lu, Xuefeng Fu, Yijuin Liew, Yongyi Zhang, Siyuan Zhao, Zheng Xu, Jingna Zhao, Da Li, Qingwen Li, Garrett B. Stanley, Xiaojie Duan
Soft and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) compatible neural electrodes enable stable chronic electrophysiological measurements and anatomical or functional MRI studies of the entire brain without electrode interference with MRI images. These properties are important for many studies, ranging from a fundamental neurophysiological study of functional MRI signals to a chronic neuromodulatory effect investigation of therapeutic deep brain stimulation. Here we develop soft and MRI compatible neural electrodes using carbon nanotube (CNT) fibers with a diameter from 20 μm down to 5 μm. The CNT fiber electrodes demonstrate excellent interfacial electrochemical properties and greatly reduced MRI artifacts than PtIr electrodes under a 7.0 T MRI scanner. With a shuttle-assisted implantation strategy, we show that the soft CNT fiber electrodes can precisely target specific brain regions and record high-quality single-unit neural signals. Significantly, they are capable of continuously detecting and isolating single neuronal units from rats for up to 4–5 months without electrode repositioning, with greatly reduced brain inflammatory responses as compared to their stiff metal counterparts. In addition, we show that due to their high tensile strength, the CNT fiber electrodes can be retracted controllably postinsertion, which provides an effective and convenient way to do multidepth recording or potentially selecting cells with particular response properties. The chronic recording stability and MRI compatibility, together with their small size, provide the CNT fiber electrodes unique research capabilities for both basic and applied neuroscience studies.