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Evaluation of Durability of Transparent Graphene Electrodes Fabricated on Different Flexible Substrates for Chronic In Vivo Experiments.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To investigate chronic durability of transparent graphene electrodes fabricated on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and SU-8 substrates for chronic in vivo studies. METHODS: We perform systematic accelerated aging tests to understand the chronic reliability and failure modes of transparent graphene microelectrode arrays built on PET and SU-8 substrates. We employ graphene microelectrodes fabricated on PET substrate in chronic in vivo experiments with transgenic mice. RESULTS: Our results show that graphene microelectrodes fabricated on PET substrate work reliably after 30 days accelerated aging test performed at 87 °C, equivalent to 960 days in vivo lifetime. We demonstrate stable chronic recordings of cortical potentials in multimodal imaging/recording experiments using transparent graphene microelectrodes fabricated on PET substrate. On the other hand, graphene microelectrode arrays built on SU-8 substrate exhibit extensive crack formation across microelectrode sites and wires after one to two weeks, resulting in total failure of recording capability for chronic studies. CONCLUSION: PET shows superior reliability as a substrate for graphene microelectrode arrays for chronic in vivo experiments. SIGNIFICANCE: Graphene is a unique neural interface material enabling cross-talk free integration of electrical and optical recording and stimulation techniques in the same experiment. To date, graphene-based microelectrode arrays have been demonstrated in various multi-modal acute experiments involving electrophysiological sensing or stimulation, optical imaging and optogenetics stimulation. Understanding chronic reliability of graphene-based transparent interfaces is very important to expand the use of this technology for long-term behavioral studies with animal models.

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