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Nanostructured Ceramic Chips for Living Neuronal Networks

D. Routkevitch, O. Polyakov, J. Valdez, M. Stowell and M. Pagratis
Synkera Technologies, Inc., US

living neuronal networks, micromachines ceramic, nanoelectrodes, guided neuronal growth

Unlocking the mechanism of neural growth and communication is needed for understanding and treatment of many degenerative diseases, as well as for neural prosthesis and restoration of damaged neural connections. Living neural networks (LNN) enable a broad array of new methods for neural research. Additionally, the ability of LNNs to detect minute environmental perturbations make them an attractive tool for chemical and biological sensing. However, producing reliable LNNs is challenging, and requires a support substrate that facilitates reproducible control over neuronal growth and formation of synaptic junctions, enables high charge density/high-resolution neuronal contacts, and allows for overall biocompatibility and reproducibility. Substrates for growing and manipulating LNNs that satisfy all of these requirements are not currently available. In this talk we will describe recent results on the development of micromachined ceramic chips for guided growth and interfacing of LNNs. Our core method utilizes the synergy of several approaches: nanoscale engineering of the topology of self-organized nanoporous alumina, micromachining ceramic to create patterns for guided neuronal growth, and utilization of arrays of nanoelectrodes to provide electrical contact to cultured neurons. The described ceramic chips are being evaluated for growing neuronal networks, tissue culturing, biosensing, bioanalysis and related bioengineering applications.

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