Current implantable electrodes face many challenges in performance and biocompatibility since rigidity and flexibility cannot be satisfied at the same time. Specifically, for long-term biocompatibility and performance, implanted probes need to further reduce their size and mechanical stiffness to match that of the surrounding cells. However, this makes accurate and minimal invasive insertion operations difficult due to lack of rigidity. Existing improvements in probe design can address some of the constraints but typically not all of the constraints without resulting in limitations in abilities, or bringing additional complexities in assembly and surgery.
Researchers at the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University have designed a system to prepare ultra-small flexible bio-probes that allow highly accurate insertion with best biocompatibility. They have developed two types of probes utilizing biodegradable sacrificial layers. One device design has flexible electrode structures that can spontaneously form three-dimensional shapes in situ after implantation. Another device design is a completely flexible film probe, as thin as 2 μm attached to a small silicon shaft that can be precisely delivered into the tissue and fully released in situ. The silicon shaft can then be fully retracted, leaving only the top thin film probe with its accurate shape and position in the tissue.
This system provides new strategies to construct highly biocompatible ultra-small implanted electronic platforms with minimal surgical damage and make significant impact on biomedical research, diagnostics and treatments.
• Brain-machine interface
o Control of robotics or neuroprosthetics
o Microchips, microwire electrode arrays, etc.
• Implanted biomedical devices
o Pacemakers, cochlear implants, retinal implants, epilepsy treatment, Parkinson’s treatment, neuromodulation devices, and more
Benefits and Advantages
• Specialized design features allow precise deep implantation and the formation of flexible 3D thin-films
• Minimal insertion/surgical damage
• Customizable – Additional features can be integrated into the devices
o Features to promote stronger integration of live cells
o Features to eliminate tension and micromotions/vibrations
• Greater cellular interface with lower tissue reactions
• Longer life-time
• Reproducible performances
For more information about the inventor(s) and their research, please see
Dr. Qing’s laboratory webpage