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A step toward better brain implants using conducting polymer nanotubes
Date:9/29/2009

promise to return functionality to individuals with spinal cord injuries and neurodegenerative diseases. However, robust and reliable chronic application of neural electrodes remains a challenge."

In the experiment, the researchers implanted two neural microelectrodes in the brains of three rats. PEDOT nanotubes were fabricated on the surface of every other recording site by using a nanofiber templating method. Over the course of seven weeks, researchers monitored the electrical impedance of the recording sites and measured the quality of recording signals.

PEDOT nanotubes in the coating enable the electrodes to operate with less electrical resistance than current metal electrode sites, which means they can communicate more clearly with individual neurons.

"Conducting polymers are biocompatible and have both electronic and ionic conductivity," Abidian said. "Therefore, these materials are good candidates for biomedical applications such as neural interfaces, biosensors and drug delivery systems."

In the experiments, the Michigan researchers applied PEDOT nanotubes to microelectrodes provided by the U-M Center for Neural Communication Technology. The PEDOT nanotube coatings were developed in the laboratory of David C. Martin, now an adjunct professor of materials science and engineering, macromolecular science and engineering, and biomedical engineering. Martin is currently the Karl W. Ber Professor and Chair of the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the University of Delaware.

Martin is also co-founder and chief scientific officer for Biotectix, a U-M spinoff company located in Ann Arbor. The company is working to commercialize conducting polymer-based coatings for a variety of biomedical devices

In previous experiments, Abidian and his colleagues have shown that PEDOT nanotubes could carry with them drugs to prevent encapsulation.

"This study paves the way for smart recording electrodes t
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Contact: Byron Roberts
byronr@umich.edu
734-647-7085
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert  

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