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Parylene as a Chronically Stable, Reproducible Microelectrode Insulator

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4 Author(s)
Loeb, Gerald E. ; Laboratory of Neural Control, National Institute of Neurologic and Communicative Disorders and Stroke ; Bak, M.J. ; Salcman, M. ; Schmidt, E.M.

One of the major problems in the design of neurophysiologiv extracellular microelectrodes is the application and selective removal of the insulation. In addition to the usual problems of achieving pin-hole-free coatings and reproducible tip exposures and impedances, chronic electrode designshave the additional requirement of maintaining megohm levels of electrical isolation for months in vivo. A method of insulating finely tapered microelectrodes with complicated shapes by vapor condensation of Parylene-C is presented, along with a method for exposing controlled, reproducible lengths of their tips. In vivo and in vitro impedance tests and unit records obtained over 100 days in monkey motor cortex are presented. The electric arc process used to expose Parylene-covered iridium and tungsten microelectrodes is found to give cleaner recording surfaces with impedances lower than those obtainable with previously described methods. Chronic iridium microelectrodes so fabricated have recorded unit potentials and maintained constant impedances for over 4 months in vivo.

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Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:BME-24 ,  Issue: 2 )