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 .
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.
 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
Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized
23.05.2017 | Waseda University
Computer accurately identifies and delineates breast cancers on digital tissue slides
11.05.2017 | Case Western Reserve University
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
30.05.2017 | Life Sciences
30.05.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences