Biomedical Microdevices

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 371–383

Design criteria of neuron/electrode interface. The focused ion beam technology as an analytical method to investigate the effect of electrode surface morphology on neurocompatibility

  • Vittoria Raffa
  • Virginia Pensabene
  • Arianna Menciassi
  • Paolo Dario


“Neurocompatibility” is a broad definition which comprises aspects of biocompatibility, chemical and physical surface properties, and biostability of an artificial substrate interfaced with a neural tissue.

The main issue coming from the analysis of the state of art of neuroprosthesis and neuron/electrode interfaces is the strong influence of electrode surface morphology on neurocompatibility. Enhanced functions of neurons have been observed on nano-structured materials.

This paper proposes the use of focused ion beam (FIB) technology as high precision machining technique to modify the surface morphology of an interface material. By controlling the ion milling in three dimensions, the fabrication of a surface with any predefined morphology becomes possible with nanometric precision.

In vitro tests on PC12 cells cultured on surfaces with different morphologies show that the surface morphology influences the cell adhesion. Experimental results suggest an enhancement of the interaction between cells and artificial surfaces at a specific scale (tens of nanometres) which is the typical scale of cellular interaction in the extra-cellular matrix (ECM) of living organisms.


Cell/electrode interface Focused ion beam Surface morphology modification Neurocompatibility 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vittoria Raffa
    • 1
  • Virginia Pensabene
    • 1
    • 2
  • Arianna Menciassi
    • 1
  • Paolo Dario
    • 1
  1. 1.CRIM–Research Center in MicroengineeringScuola Superiore Sant’AnnaPontedera (PI)Italy
  2. 2.University of GenovaItalian Institute of TechnologiesGenovaItaly

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