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Graphene Electrodes for Cell Electrophysiology

How can simple graphene-based electrodes be used to record neuronal action potentials and even outperform classical multielectrode arrays?




Graphene Multielectrode Arrays as a Versatile Tool for Extracellular Measurements

D. Kireev, S. Seyock, J. Lewen, V. Maybeck, B. Wolfrum, A. Offenhäusser

To appeared in: Adv. Healthcare Mater. 2017, 6, 1601433

Special link:

DOI: 10.1002/adhm.201601433


Graphene Electrodes for Cell ElectrophysiologySchematic representation of the GMEAs and their use for neuronal electrophysiology


In the work, graphene multielectrode arrays (GMEAs) are used for cardiac and neuronal extracellular recordings. The overall simplicity of the fabrication process, together with the wafer-scale approach results in cheap and easy-to-reproduce devices. The advantages of the graphene as part of the multielectrode arrays are numerous: from a general flexibility and biocompatibility to the unique electronic properties of graphene. For the neuronal interfacing, when the axonal sizes are sub-micron, it is easier to form a good coupling with the graphene. Moreover, graphene’s transparency is an advancement compared to classical MEAs, which allows direct on-electrode monitoring of cellular viability. The devices, used for extensive in vitro studies of a cardiac-like cell lines (HL-1) and cortical neuronal networks, show excellent ability to extracellularly detect action potentials with signal to noise ratios up to 116 for HL-1 cells and up to 100 for spontaneous bursting/spiking neuronal activity. This is the first time, up to our knowledge, spontaneous neuronal spiking-bursting activity is recorded by graphene-based electrodes in vitro.

The paper illustrates that the potential applications of the GMEAs in biological and medical research are still numerous and diverse. Graphene’s general flexibility, transparency, biocompatibility, ease of fabrication and usage, and now proven ability to record neuronal activity makes it a promising, truly planar material, suitable for a more advanced neuronal interfacing, such as in brain and retina implants.