Fabrication and evaluation of conductive elastomer electrodes for neural stimulation.
This study explored the feasibility of applying nanocomposites derived from conducting organic polymers and silicone elastomers to fabricate electrodes for neural stimulation. A novel combination of nanoparticulate polypyrrole polymerized within a processable elastomeric silicone host polymer was evaluated in vitro and in vivo. The electrical properties of the elastomeric conductors were strongly dependent on their composition, and mixtures were identified that provided high and stable conductivity. Methods were developed for incorporating conductive polymer-siloxane co-polymer nanocomposite and silicone insulating polymers into thin-layered structures for simple single-poled electrode fabrication. In vitro testing revealed that the materials were stable under continuous pulsing for at least 10 days. Single contact prototype nerve cuff electrodes were fabricated and device functionality was demonstrated in vivo following acute implantation. The results of this study demonstrate the feasibility of conductive elastomers for peripheral nerve stimulating electrodes. Matching the mechanical properties of cuff electrode to those of the underlying neural tissue is expected to improve the long-term tissue response to the presence of the electrode.
Keohan, F; Wei, XF; Wongsarnpigoon, A; Lazaro, E; Darga, JE; Grill, WM
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