To achieve selective electrical interfacing to the neural system it is necessary to approach neuronal elements on a scale of micrometers. This necessitates microtechnology fabrication and introduces the interdisciplinary field of neurotechnology, lying at the juncture of neuroscience with microtechnology. The neuroelectronic interface occurs where the membrane of a cell soma or axon meets a metal microelectrode surface. The seal between these may be narrow or may be leaky. In the latter case the surrounding volume conductor becomes part of the interface. Electrode design for successful interfacing, either for stimulation or recording, requires good understanding of membrane phenomena, natural and evoked action potential generation, volume conduction, and electrode behavior. Penetrating multimicroelectrodes have been produced as one-, two-, and three-dimensional arrays, mainly in silicon, glass, and metal microtechnology. Cuff electrodes circumvent a nerve; their selectivity aims at fascicles more than at nerve fibers. Other types of electrodes are regenerating sieves and cone-ingrowth electrodes. The latter may play a role in brain-computer interfaces. Planar substrate-embedded electrode arrays with cultured neural cells on top are used to study the activity and plasticity of developing neural networks. They also serve as substrates for future so-called cultured probes.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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