Proof of Concept for Sustainable Manufacturing of Neural Electrode Array for In Vivo Recording

Szu Ying Li, Hsin Yi Tseng, Bo Wei Chen, Yu Chun Lo, Huai Hsuan Shao, Yen Ting Wu, Ssu Ju Li, Ching Wen Chang, Ta Chung Liu, Fu Yu Hsieh, Yi Yang, Yan Bo Lai, Po Chun Chen*, You Yin Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Increasing requirements for neural implantation are helping to expand our understanding of nervous systems and generate new developmental approaches. It is thanks to advanced semiconductor technologies that we can achieve the high-density complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor electrode array for the improvement of the quantity and quality of neural recordings. Although the microfabricated neural implantable device holds much promise in the biosensing field, there are some significant technological challenges. The most advanced neural implantable device relies on complex semiconductor manufacturing processes, which are required for the use of expensive masks and specific clean room facilities. In addition, these processes based on a conventional photolithography technique are suitable for mass production, which is not applicable for custom-made manufacturing in response to individual experimental requirements. The microfabricated complexity of the implantable neural device is increasing, as is the associated energy consumption, and corresponding emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, resulting in environmental deterioration. Herein, we developed a fabless fabricated process for a neural electrode array that was simple, fast, sustainable, and customizable. An effective strategy to produce conductive patterns as the redistribution layers (RDLs) includes implementing microelectrodes, traces, and bonding pads onto the polyimide (PI) substrate by laser micromachining techniques combined with the drop coating of the silver glue to stack the laser grooving lines. The process of electroplating platinum on the RDLs was performed to increase corresponding conductivity. Sequentially, Parylene C was deposited onto the PI substrate to form the insulation layer for the protection of inner RDLs. Following the deposition of Parylene C, the via holes over microelectrodes and the corresponding probe shape of the neural electrode array was also etched by laser micromachining. To increase the neural recording capability, three-dimensional microelectrodes with a high surface area were formed by electroplating gold. Our eco-electrode array showed reliable electrical characteristics of impedance under harsh cyclic bending conditions of over 90 degrees. For in vivo application, our flexible neural electrode array demonstrated more stable and higher neural recording quality and better biocompatibility as well during the 2-week implantation compared with those of the silicon-based neural electrode array. In this study, our proposed eco-manufacturing process for fabricating the neural electrode array reduced 63 times of carbon emissions compared to the traditional semiconductor manufacturing process and provided freedom in the customized design of the implantable electronic devices as well.

Original languageEnglish
Article number280
JournalBiosensors
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Keywords

  • carbon footprint
  • fabless manufacturing
  • laser etching
  • neural electrode array

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