Most currently available high-density neural interfaces are designed to enable short-term, or acute, interactions between the nervous system and the external world. Though many such technologies are used for fundamental research in neuroscience, there is a need for biocompatible neural interfaces to enable translation from the laboratory to clinical practice.
To help meet this need, LLNL is developing next-generation neural interface devices for auditory prostheses. These devices incorporate microelectrode arrays with percutaneous connectors. They are fabricated on biocompatible polymers using chronically implantable materials suitable for animal and human studies. The arrays are compatible with multiple electrode materials suitable for both neural recording and neural stimulation.
In addition to the arrays themselves, LLNL has also developed an innovative method to insert the flexible arrays into tissue using a temporary stiffener (DOI # 10.3791/50609). The temporary stiffener enables the use of double-sided electrode arrays, a unique LLNL development. To truly enable chronic studies, these devices will be attached to a high-density percutaneous connector . The connector, made from biocompatible materials is designed for long-term experiments in awake and behaving animals and uses a magnetic clamp in a small form-factor.