Abstract by Spencer Roberts
Physics and Astronomy
Mechanical characterization of Carbon Nanotube based Neural Probes
Neural probes allow researchers and medical professionals to read neural activity and send signals directly to the brain. However, mechanical stiffness mismatch between neural probes and brain tissue leads to chronic irritation and trauma, which eventually causes loss of signal. Viable long-term implants commercial will require flexible probes that match brain’s stiffness. We have designed a carbon nanotube (CNT) based neural probe array with flexible electrodes that have tunable stiffness via carbon infiltration. In this work, we characterize the Young’s modulus of our CNT probes at various infiltration levels using a dual deflection wire test. Initial results indicate that the minimum modulus of the probes is about ~12kPa, which is comparable to the ~1.8 kPa of the brain, indicating probable long-term biocompatibility.