Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gentle sensors for diagnosing brain disorders

29.09.2016

New sensor design paves the way for safer and more effective brain monitoring.

exible, low-cost sensor technology leading to safer and improved diagnoses and treatment of brain disorders has been developed by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) scientists [1].


Through Polymer Vias based 3D integration simplifies the path towards high-resolution brain machine interfaces. © 2016 KAUST

Mapping the electrical activity of the brain is critical in understanding neurological disorders, such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, multielectrode arrays, called Michigan or Utah arrays, are used to monitor brain activity. Made from layers of conductive silicon needles, these rigid devices are inserted through the scalp to monitor the brain’s surface. The needles can cause inflammation of the tissues and so they must be removed within a year.

Muhammad Hussain and Aftab Hussain from the KAUST Integrated Nanotechnology Laboratory and Integrated Disruptive Electronic Applications Laboratory wanted to develop a soft and flexible sensor that could be placed on the surface of the brain within the intracranial space, providing better contact and reducing the risk of damage to tissues.

“Sensors require associated electronics to interface with us, and these electronics dissipate heat causing a burning effect in the brain which can permanently damage tissues,” explains Muhammad Hussain. “The challenge is to keep the electronics away from the brain.”

Working within these parameters, they fabricated a sensor made from gold electrodes encased in a polymer coating with their connections oriented vertically, and, by placing the connectors on top of the sensor and allowing them to pass through the polymer support, an integrated circuit (IC) could be attached to the flip side of the device, isolating it from the brain surface and preventing hotspots.

The intracranial space of the brain presents an area of only 64 cm2 for mapping more than 80 billion neurons, so not only is it safer to prevent the electronics from making contact with the brain, it also maximizes the number of neurons that can be monitored by the sensor array.

“The sensor is in contact with the soft tissues of the brain, where it collects activity data, and the IC is placed on top, with a soft insulating polymeric material separating them, allowing a larger area to be mapped and a reduction in the heating effect,” says Hussain.

By using state-of-the-art technology, used for fabricating integrated circuits, the researchers have developed a method that could lead to mass-produced sensors that are safer, have improved mapping capabilities, and are also robust enough for long lasting functionality.

“We are currently collaborating with Harvard-MIT Medical Institute on using the technique to improve the efficiency of the mapping interface system,” says Hussain.

Associated links

Journal information

[1] Hussain, A.M. and Hussain, M.M. Deterministic integration of out-of-plane sensor arrays for flexible electronic applications. Small, 25 July 2016 (doi: 10.1002/smll.201600952).

Michelle D'Antoni | Research SEA
Further information:
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology
22.09.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

nachricht Skin patch dissolves 'love handles' in mice
18.09.2017 | Columbia University Medical Center

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>