Constructing Electronic Devices for Recording Cell-Specific Neural Signaling

Jenna White

Mentors: Isaac Weaver, Sasha Burwell, Michael Tadross, PhD.

Department of Biomedical Engineering

Neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s have been found to alter electrical and chemical signaling in the brain, but it is unknown how these diseases affect neural signaling due to insufficient technologies for neural recording. It is hypothesized that if the fabrication of devices featuring transparent electrodes with appropriate dimensions is feasible, these devices would allow for recordings of individual neurons. This project involves the creation of devices using glass wafers layered with a conductor, utilizing the method of photolithography (exposing the wafers to UV light) for patterning electrodes on the conductor and patterning a layer of insulator added on top of the conductor. These wafers were then diced into separate devices, and wells for holding neurons were added onto each device. Despite errors in constructing these devices, over half of the devices created yielded well-aligned electrodes with a diameter similar to that of a neuronal soma. This suggests that the dimensions of each electrode allow for the isolation of signals from a single cultured neuron in vitro. The fabrication of these devices has shown feasibility, and with future improvements such as increased mechanical stability, these devices show potential for cell-specific neural recording.

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