Chemical delivery array with millisecond neurotransmitter release

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Science Advances  02 Nov 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 11, e1601340
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601340

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Technologies that restore or augment dysfunctional neural signaling represent a promising route to deeper understanding and new therapies for neurological disorders. Because of the chemical specificity and subsecond signaling of the nervous system, these technologies should be able to release specific neurotransmitters at specific locations with millisecond resolution. We have previously demonstrated an organic electronic lateral electrophoresis technology capable of precise delivery of charged compounds, such as neurotransmitters. However, this technology, the organic electronic ion pump, has been limited to a single delivery point, or several simultaneously addressed outlets, with switch-on speeds of seconds. We report on a vertical neurotransmitter delivery device, configured as an array with individually controlled delivery points and a temporal resolution of 50 ms. This is achieved by supplementing lateral electrophoresis with a control electrode and an ion diode at each delivery point to allow addressing and limit leakage. By delivering local pulses of neurotransmitters with spatiotemporal dynamics approaching synaptic function, the high-speed delivery array promises unprecedented access to neural signaling and a path toward biochemically regulated neural prostheses.

  • Organic electronics
  • drug delivery
  • electrophoresis
  • iontronics
  • neurotransmitters

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