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.

Related Articles


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 December 20, 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 December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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