Skip to Main Content
The aims of this study are to 1) experimentally validate for the first time the nonlinear current-potential characteristics of bulk doped polycrystalline silicon in the small amplitude voltage regimes (0-200 ) and 2) test if noise amplitudes ( 0-15 ) from single neuronal electrical recordings get selectively attenuated in doped polycrystalline silicon microelectrodes due to the above property. In highly doped polycrystalline silicon, bulk resistances of several hundred kilo-ohms were experimentally measured for voltages typical of noise amplitudes and 9-10 k for voltages typical of neural signal amplitudes (> 150-200 ). Acute multiunit measurements and noise measurements were made in n = 6 and n = 8 anesthetized adult rats, respectively, using polycrystalline silicon and tungsten microelectrodes. There was no significant difference in the peak-to-peak amplitudes of action potentials recorded from either microelectrode (p > 0.10). However, noise power in the recordings from tungsten microelectrodes (26.36 ±10.13 pW) was significantly higher (p <;; 0.001) than the corresponding value in polycrystalline silicon microelectrodes (7.49 ± 2.66 pW). We conclude that polycrystalline silicon microelectrodes result in selective attenuation of noise power in electrical recordings compared to tungsten microelectrodes. This reduction in noise compared to tungsten microelectrodes is likely due to the exponentially higher bulk resistances offered by highly doped bulk polycrystalline silicon in the range of voltages corresponding to noise in multiunit measurements.