DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The goal of this project is to develop a nanoelectrode that can be used to record from and stimulate individual neurons of the intact brain. Such an electrode would permit neuroscientists to investigate, as never before accomplished, the role of single and groups of neurons in brain function. During any task, cognitive, motor, or perceptual, neurons discharge their action potentials in complex asynchronous patterns. The discharges are noisy and debate continues about how neural messages are encoded in neural discharge patterns. Without the ability to externally control the discharges of neurons independently of one another, something that is impossible with current technology, neuroscientists simply lack the tools needed to systematically attack the key question of how information is encoded in neuronal discharges. Without this basic understanding of how the discharges of neurons contribute to brain function, there is really no hope that artificial neural control systems could be developed which truly replicate the behavior of lost neural tissue. Modern techniques in nanofabrication will be used to build the nanoelectrodes. These techniques should permit the probes to be produced in mass quantities with uniform dimensions and physical and chemical properties. Templating techniques will be used, enabling a potentially wide array of nanostructures, including coaxial arrangements of different materials, to be fabricated with high reproducibility. The longterm objective of this work is to use nanoelectrodes in neuroprosthetic devices, providing designers with more precise control of neural activity than previously imaginable. If successful, the prospect of restorating close to normal function in human patients with neural disorders would take a big step forward.
|Effective start/end date||9/1/04 → 8/31/08|
- National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (5 R21 EB004200-02)