, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 923-938

Implantable microscale neural interfaces

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Abstract

Implantable neural microsystems provide an interface to the nervous system, giving cellular resolution to physiological processes unattainable today with non-invasive methods. Such implantable microelectrode arrays are being developed to simultaneously sample signals at many points in the tissue, providing insight into processes such as movement control, memory formation, and perception. These electrode arrays have been microfabricated on a variety of substrates, including silicon, using both surface and bulk micromachining techniques, and more recently, polymers. Current approaches to achieving a stable long-term tissue interface focus on engineering the surface properties of the implant, including coatings that discourage protein adsorption or release bioactive molecules. The implementation of a wireless interface requires consideration of the necessary data flow, amplification, signal processing, and packaging. In future, the realization of a fully implantable neural microsystem will contribute to both diagnostic and therapeutic applications, such as a neuroprosthetic interface to restore motor functions in paralyzed patients.