Microelectrodes with three-dimensional structures for improved neural interfacing
This paper describes the development of microelectrodes with integrated three-dimensional electrode structures. The integration of three-dimensional structures aims at an improvement of the electrode/tissue interface. Due to the increase in surface area the electrode impedance is reduced, while the density of microelectrodes per area remains the same as with flat electrodes. Two different types of electrodes have been developed: Flexible, implantable microelectrodes with pyramidal, protruding structures and tip-shaped electrode arrays on glass substrates. The protrusion heights of the electrode sites can easily be adjusted depending on the actual application. For the flexible structures we used a polyimide-based process to fabricate microelectrodes with sharp or flat pyramidal tips and with electrode arrangements on front and backside of the devices. The tip-shaped electrode arrays were fabricated from a glass substrate by isotropic wet chemical etching and subsequent metallization and passivation. Data from impedance measurements and acute brain slice recordings indicate a considerable improvement regarding electrode impedance and obtainable signal strength.