Intracellular neural recording with pure carbon nanotube probes
The computational complexity of the brain depends in part on a neuron’s capacity to integrate electrochemical information from vast numbers of synaptic inputs. The measurements of synaptic activity that are crucial for mechanistic understanding of brain function are also challenging because they require intracellular recording methods to detect and resolve millivolt scale synaptic potentials. Although glass electrodes are widely used for intracellular recordings, novel electrodes with superior mechanical and electrical properties are desirable because they could extend intracellular recording methods to challenging environments, including long term recordings in freely behaving animals. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) can theoretically deliver this advance, but previous attempts have been limited to surface coating over a flat substrate or wires1,2, limiting their application to monolayer neuronal cultures. Here we show that a novel yet remarkably simple millimeter long electrode with a sub-micron tip, fabricated from self-entangled pure CNT can be used to obtain intracellular and extracellular recordings from vertebrate neurons in vitro and in vivo. This fabrication technology provides a new method for assembling intracellular electrodes from CNTs, affording a promising opportunity to harness nanotechnology for neuroscience applications.
Yoon, I; Hamaguchi, K; Borzenets, IV; Finkelstein, G; Mooney, R; Donald, BR