Neurosurgeons operating on the brain often use electrode grids to monitor neural activity and to stay clear of healthy tissue. The technology hasn’t seen much progress over the past couple of decades, but now a team from University of California San Diego and Massachusetts General Hospital has developed a new electrode array that provides higher fidelity readings of the electric activity on the surface of the brain.
The new device is many times thinner than electrode arrays currently used in brain surgery, and being flexible allows it to conform to the curvaceous morphology of brain, hence placing the electrodes in better contact with the brain’s surface. The electrodes themselves are much more numerous and are placed 25 times closer to each other than in existing devices, resulting in higher quality signal resolution.
While wanting to have better signal acquisition is nothing new, using metal for the electrode material results in limitations on how small the electrodes can be made without resulting in too much extra noise. To avoid this, the researchers used PEDOT:PSS, a conductive polymer that is flexible and performs better than metal in certain cases, and electrodes made from it can be packed much closer together.
To test the new electrode grid, the researchers had UC San Diego neurosurgeons try using it during four procedures, comparing it to existing devices. They showed that the new device provides better resolution and may be more useful during various procedures.
In addition to being used during neurosurgeries, the same technology may be highly applicable for brain-computer interfaces that perform better the more data they are able to gather.
Study in journal Advanced Functional Materials: Development and Translation of PEDOT:PSS Microelectrodes for Intraoperative Monitoring…
Via: UC San Diego…