Intracellular Neural Recording with Pure Carbon Nanotube Probes.


The computational complexity of the brain depends in part on a neuron's capacity to integrate electrochemical information from vast numbers of synaptic inputs. The measurements of synaptic activity that are crucial for mechanistic understanding of brain function are also challenging, because they require intracellular recording methods to detect and resolve millivolt- scale synaptic potentials. Although glass electrodes are widely used for intracellular recordings, novel electrodes with superior mechanical and electrical properties are desirable, because they could extend intracellular recording methods to challenging environments, including long term recordings in freely behaving animals. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) can theoretically deliver this advance, but the difficulty of assembling CNTs has limited their application to a coating layer or assembly on a planar substrate, resulting in electrodes that are more suitable for in vivo extracellular recording or extracellular recording from isolated cells. Here we show that a novel, yet remarkably simple, millimeter-long electrode with a sub-micron tip, fabricated from self-entangled pure CNTs can be used to obtain intracellular and extracellular recordings from vertebrate neurons in vitro and in vivo. This fabrication technology provides a new method for assembling intracellular electrodes from CNTs, affording a promising opportunity to harness nanotechnology for neuroscience applications.





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Publication Info

Yoon, Inho, Kosuke Hamaguchi, Ivan V Borzenets, Gleb Finkelstein, Richard Mooney and Bruce R Donald (2013). Intracellular Neural Recording with Pure Carbon Nanotube Probes. PloS one, 8(6). p. e65715. 10.1371/journal.pone.0065715 Retrieved from

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Gleb Finkelstein

Professor of Physics

Gleb Finkelstein is an experimentalist interested in physics of quantum nanostructures, such as Josephson junctions and quantum dots made of carbon nanotubes, graphene, and topological materials. These objects reveal a variety of interesting electronic properties that may form a basis for future quantum devices.


Richard Daniel Mooney

George Barth Geller Distinguished Professor for Research in Neurobiology

Our broad research goal is to understand the neural mechanisms by which experience guides learning, behavior, and perception. Our group explores the structure and function of sensorimotor circuits important to learned vocal communication in the songbird and to auditory-motor integration in the mouse. In the course of these explorations, my research group has developed a wide range of technical expertise in both avian and mouse models, including in vivo multiphoton neuronal imaging, chronic recording of neural activity in freely behaving animals, in vivo and in vitro intracellular recordings from identified neurons, and manipulation of neuronal activity using electrical, chemical and optogenetic methods. Our group also has extensive experience with viral transgenic methods to manipulate gene expression, including genes implicated in human neurological disorders. Together, these methods provide a broad technical approach to identify the neural circuit mechanisms important to vocal learning, auditory perception and communication.

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