Modeling the electrode-electrolyte interface for recording and stimulating electrodes.

John B. Troy*, Donald R. Cantrell, Allen Taflove, Rodney S. Ruoff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The design of metal microelectrodes that produce minimal damage to tissue and can successfully record from and stimulate targeted neural structures necessitates a thorough understanding of the electrical phenomena generated in the tissue surrounding the electrodes. Computational modeling has been a primary strategy used to study these phenomena, and the Finite Element Method has proven to be a powerful approach. Much research has been directed toward the development of models for electrode recording and stimulation, but very few models reported in the literature thus far incorporate the effects of the electrode-electrolyte interface, which can be a source of very high impedance, and thus likely a key component of the system. To explore the effects that the electrode-electrolyte interface has upon the electric potential and current density surrounding metal microelectrodes, simulations of electrode-saline systems in which the electrodes were driven at AC potentials ranging from 10 mV to 500 mV and frequencies of 100 Hz to 10 kHz have been performed using the Finite Element Method. Solutions obtained using the thin layer approximation for the electrode-electrolyte interface was compared with those generated using a thin uniform layer, a representation that has previously appeared in the literature. Solutions using these two methods were similar in the linear regime of the interface however, the thin layer approximation has important advantages over its competitor including ease of application and low computational cost.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Signal Processing
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Health Informatics

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