Flexible neurocage array for live neural network study
A flexible multi-electrode-array (MEA) with parylene-C (PA-C) cages on PA-C substrate for neural network study in vitro is presented here. 8×8 cage arrays were fabricated on a 10-μm-thick PA-C film. For our use, the array was glued on a 100μm-thick glass substrate for ease of handling. Each cage is to trap an individual neuron to force a close proximity of the neuron to an embedded electrode inside the cage for stimulation and recording. In addition, each neurocage has six tunnels emanating from the cage to allow axons and dendrites to grow outward and form synapses with other trapped neurons. The Electrode inside each neurocage can then be used to stimulate and/or record electrical activity from the trapped cell at any given time. Why thin and flexible? From our previous work, it is learned that manually loading neuron one-by-one into the cage is time-consuming. We then propose to use laser tweezer to do the cell loading from the backside of the array. To facilitate laser tweezer neuron loading, the neurocage array must be transparent and thin. On the other hand, device flexibility facilitates a high-yield fabrication, easy singulation and attachment to almost any substrate for use.