Research ArticleNEUROSCIENCE

Transparent arrays of bilayer-nanomesh microelectrodes for simultaneous electrophysiology and two-photon imaging in the brain

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Science Advances  05 Sep 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 9, eaat0626
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat0626


Transparent microelectrode arrays have emerged as increasingly important tools for neuroscience by allowing simultaneous coupling of big and time-resolved electrophysiology data with optically measured, spatially and type resolved single neuron activity. Scaling down transparent electrodes to the length scale of a single neuron is challenging since conventional transparent conductors are limited by their capacitive electrode/electrolyte interface. In this study, we establish transparent microelectrode arrays with high performance, great biocompatibility, and comprehensive in vivo validations from a recently developed, bilayer-nanomesh material composite, where a metal layer and a low-impedance faradaic interfacial layer are stacked reliably together in a same transparent nanomesh pattern. Specifically, flexible arrays from 32 bilayer-nanomesh microelectrodes demonstrated near-unity yield with high uniformity, excellent biocompatibility, and great compatibility with state-of-the-art wireless recording and real-time artifact rejection system. The electrodes are highly scalable, with 130 kilohms at 1 kHz at 20 μm in diameter, comparable to the performance of microelectrodes in nontransparent Michigan arrays. The highly transparent, bilayer-nanomesh microelectrode arrays allowed in vivo two-photon imaging of single neurons in layer 2/3 of the visual cortex of awake mice, along with high-fidelity, simultaneous electrical recordings of visual-evoked activity, both in the multi-unit activity band and at lower frequencies by measuring the visual-evoked potential in the time domain. Together, these advances reveal the great potential of transparent arrays from bilayer-nanomesh microelectrodes for a broad range of utility in neuroscience and medical practices.

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