Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unique micronail chip makes electronics and bio cells communicate

Date:
November 26, 2009
Source:
Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC)
Summary:
A unique microchip with microscopic nail structures enable close communication between the electronics and biological cells. The new chip is a mass-producible, easy-to-use tool in electrophysiology research, for example for fundamental research on the functioning and dysfunctioning of the brain. Each micronail structure serves as a close contact-point for one cell, and contains an electrode that can very accurately record and trigger in real-time the electrical activity of an individual electrogenic cell in a network.

Cortical neurons engulf microscopic nail structures on the surface of IMEC's micronail chip (3-day in vitro culture).
Credit: Image courtesy of Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC)

IMEC presents a unique microchip with microscopic nail structures that enable close communication between the electronics and biological cells. The new chip is a mass-producible, easy-to-use tool in electrophysiology research, for example for fundamental research on the functioning and dysfunctioning of the brain. Each micronail structure serves as a close contact-point for one cell, and contains an electrode that can very accurately record and trigger in real-time the electrical activity of an individual electrogenic cell in a network.

Electrogenic cells such as cardiomyocytes (heart cells) or neurons (brain cells) rely on electrical signals to communicate with one another. Knowledge of the electrical activity of these cells is essential to gain insights in the communication process of these cells, to unravel the cause of brain disorders such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease, or validate the effect of drugs on cardiac cells in the struggle against cardiac diseases, etc.

IMEC's new micronail chip is the ideal instrument to study the communication mechanisms between cells. The electrodes in IMEC's micronail chip are downsized to the size of cells and even smaller. They consist of tiny nail structures made of a metal stem covered with an oxide layer, and a conductive (e.g. gold or titaniumnitride) tip. When cells are applied on the chip surface, their cell membrane strongly engulfs the nail structures, thereby realizing an intimate contact with the electrode. This very close contact improves the signal-to-interference ratio enabling precise recording of electrical signals and electrical stimulation of single cells.

"We tackled several challenges to realize this micronail chip such as keeping the cells alive on the chip surface; combining the wet cell solution with the electronics underneath without destroying the electronics; guiding the cell growth so that the cell body is just on top of one individual electrode; and last but not least: bring the cells as close as possible to the chip surface. Now, we have a unique instrument to record and interpret the signals of the neurons. We can also stimulate neurons and follow up the consequences to unravel the functioning of our brain;" said Wolfgang Eberle, Group manager Bioelectronic systems.

Kris Verstreken, Director Bio-Nanoelectronics: "Little is known about the functioning of our brain. Where do emotions origin? How do we build up memories? Or what is the cause of brain diseases such as Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's disease? Many processes in our brain are unknown. Neurons are very plastic cells, continuously forming new connections and breaking up or rebuilding new ones. But how do they do that? And which are the consequences for learning and development? On the long term, we can use the knowledge that we build up with in vitro experiments on our micronail chip to diagnose diseases, or even develop therapies, by stimulating cells, or building new communication bridges between cells after a brain infarction."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC). "Unique micronail chip makes electronics and bio cells communicate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091111111301.htm>.
Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC). (2009, November 26). Unique micronail chip makes electronics and bio cells communicate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091111111301.htm
Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC). "Unique micronail chip makes electronics and bio cells communicate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091111111301.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins