Ultra-sensitive measurement of brain penetration with microscale probes for brain machine interface considerations

Abdulmalik Obaid, Yu-Wei Wu, Mina Hanna, William Nix, Jun Ding, Nicholas Melosh

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Dec 11, 2018
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Received Date: 28th November 18

Microscale electrodes are rapidly becoming critical tools for neuroscience and brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) for their high spatial and temporal resolution. However, the mechanics of how devices on this scale insert into brain tissue is unknown, making it difficult to balance between larger probes with higher stiffness, or smaller probes with lower damage. Measurements have been experimentally challenging due to the large deformations, rapid events, and small forces involved. Here we modified a nanoindentation force measurement system to provide the first ultra-high resolution force, distance, and temporal recordings of brain penetration as a function of microwire diameter (7.5 µm to 100 µm) and tip geometry (flat, angled, and electrosharpened). Surprisingly, both penetration force and tissue compression scaled linearly with wire diameter, rather than cross-sectional area.  Linear brain compression with wire diameter strongly suggest smaller probes will cause less tissue damage upon insertion, though unexpectedly no statistical difference was observed between angled and flat tipped probes. These first of their kind measurements provide a mechanical framework for designing effective microprobe geometries while limiting mechanical damage.

Read in full at bioRxiv.

This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.


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Nature Communications

Nature Research, Springer Nature