Experimental study on the mechanical interaction between silicon neural microprobes and rat dura mater during insertion
In vivo insertion experiments are essential to optimize novel neural implants. Our work focuses on the interaction between intact dura mater of rats and as-fabricated single-shaft silicon microprobes realized by deep reactive ion etching. Implantation parameters like penetration force and dimpling through intact dura mater were studied as a function of insertion speed, microprobe cross-section, tip angle and animal age. To reduce tissue resistance, we proposed a unique tip sharpening technique, which was also evaluated in in vivo insertion tests. By doubling the insertion speed (between 1.2 and 10.5 mm/min), an increase of 10–35 % in penetration forces was measured. When decreasing the cross-section of the microprobes, penetration forces and dimpling was reduced by as much as 30–50 % at constant insertion speeds. Force was noticed to gradually decrease by decreasing tip angles. Measured penetration forces through dura mater were reduced even down to 11 ± 3 mN compared to unsharpened (49 ± 13 mN) probes by utilizing our unique tip sharpening technique, which is very close to exerted penetration force in the case of retracted dura (5 ± 1.5 mN). Our findings imply that age remarkably alters the elasticity of intact dura mater. The decreasing stiffness of dura mater results in a significant rise in penetration force and decrease in dimpling. Our work is the first in vivo comparative study on microelectrode penetration through intact and retracted dura mater.
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