Scientists out of Graphene Flagship, a European project to translate graphene science into useful applications, have shown that the material can interface with neuron cells, seemingly without causing them any damage. These days metal and silicon electrodes are used as neural interface devices, but the new research paves wave for more “natural” carbon-based brain implants.
Current electrodes end up being surrounded by tissues that attenuate the brain signals captured by them, often eventually becoming useless. Using carbon-based graphene electrode arrays may allow for high-sensitivity long term monitoring and even electrically stimulating the brain.
Prof. Laura Ballerini, the lead neuro-scientist on this research explained: “For the first time we interfaced graphene to neurons directly, without any peptide-coating used in the past to favour neuronal adhesion. We then tested the ability of neurons to generate electrical signals known to represent brain activities and found that the neurons retained unaltered their neuronal signalling properties… This is the first functional study of neuronal synaptic activity using uncoated graphene based materials.”
Study in ACS Nano: Graphene-Based Interfaces Do Not Alter Target Nerve Cells…