Graphene-based Neural Probe Detects Brain Activity At High Resolution And Signal Quality

Researchers from the European Graphene Flagship have developed a new microelectrode array neural probe based on field-effect transistors (FETs) that can record brain activity at high resolution while maintaining excellent quality via a good signal-to-noise ratio.

The new probe could mean in vivo neural recording implants in the not-so-distant future, which could help patients with epilepsy or other disorders that impact brain and motor functions. 

Measuring neural activity with high precision

Graphene-based Neural Probe Detects Brain Activity At High Resolution And Signal Quality - Featured Graphene Medical research Sensors

(Left) depiction of the graphene implant placed on the surface of the rat’s brain. (Right) microscope image of a multielectrode array with conventional platinum electrodes (a) vs. the miniature graphene device next to it (b). Scale bar is 1.25 mm. (credit:  Benno M. Blaschke et al./ 2D Mater.)

Neural activity is measured by detecting the electric fields generated when neurons fire. These fields are highly localized, so ultra-small measuring devices that can be densely packed are required for accurate brain readings.

The new device has an microelectrode array of 16 graphene-based transistors arranged on a flexible substrate that can conform to the brain’s surface. Graphene provides biocompatibility, chemical stability, flexibility, and excellent electrical properties, which make it attractive for use in devices, especially for brain activity. 

The researchers performed an experiment with rats and used the new devices to record brain activity during sleep and in response to visual light stimulation. 

You can read the full results of the study here 


Publication Journal: B. M Blaschke et al., Mapping brain activity with flexible graphene micro-transistors, 2D Materials, volume 4, number 2 (2017)