In DepthNeuroscience

Neuron-size probes promise better recordings

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Science  03 May 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6439, pp. 420
DOI: 10.1126/science.364.6439.420

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Summary

A hair-thin probe penetrating the brain to listen in on neurons' electrical chatter can easily rip tissue on the way in. And once in place, a probe can do further damage that muffles the signals it aims to detect. But thanks in part to improvements in material fabrication techniques, several teams have recently unveiled finer probes that appear to integrate more seamlessly into tissue, cause less damage, and capture strong signals from the same individual neurons for months on end. Just a few micrometers thick—comparable to neurons themselves—these tools may soon allow for unprecedented, long-term recordings from hard-to-reach parts of animal brains. And they may lead to more sophisticated brain-computer interfaces for people.

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