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Abstract

The mechanical mismatch between implantable interfaces and neural tissues may be reduced by employing soft polymeric materials. Here, we report on a simple strategy to prepare and pattern a soft electrode coating of neural interfacing devices based on a screen-printable conducting hydrogel. The coating formulation, based on polyacrylamide and poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate, is suitable to additive manufacturing and exhibits excellent adhesion to polydimethylsiloxane, an elastomer commonly used as a substrate in soft neural interfaces. The soft conductive coating displays a tunable elastic modulus in the 10–100 kPa range and electrochemical properties on a par with stiff conductive inks while supporting good neural cell attachment and proliferation in vitro. Next, the soft printable hydrogel is integrated within a 4 × 4 microelectrode array for electrocorticography with 250 μm-diameter contacts. Acute recording of cortical local field potentials and electrochemical characterization preimplantation and postimplantation highlight the stability of the soft organic conductor. The overall robustness of the soft coating and its patterning method provide a promising route for a range of implantable bioelectronic applications.

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