In-vivo implant mechanics of flexible, silicon-based ACREO microelectrode arrays in rat cerebral cortex

Winnie Jensen*, Ken Yoshida, Ulrich G. Hofmann

*Corresponding author for this work
63 Citations (Scopus)


The mechanical behavior of an electrode during implantation into neural tissue can have a profound effect on the neural connections and signaling that takes place within the tissue. The objective of the present work was to investigate the in vivo implant mechanics of flexible, silicon-based ACREO microelectrode arrays recently developed by the VSAMUEL consortium (European Union, grant #IST-1999-10073). We have previously reported on both the electrical [1]-[3] and mechanical [4], [5] properties of the ACREO electrodes. In this paper, the tensile and compression forces were measured during a series of in vivo electrode insertions into the cerebral cortex of rats (7 acute experiments, 2-mm implant depth, 2-mm/s insertion velocity). We compared the ACREO silicon electrodes (4° opening angle, 1-8 shafts) to single-shaft tungsten electrodes (3° and 10° opening angles). The penetration force and dimpling increased with the cross-sectional area (statistical difference between the largest and the smallest electrode) and with the number of shafts (no statistical difference). We consistently observed tensile (drag) forces during the retraction phase, which indicates the brain tissue sticks to the electrode within a short time period. Treating the electrodes prior to insertion with silane (hydrophobic) or piranha (hydrophilic) significantly decreased the penetration force. In conclusion, our findings suggest that reusable electrodes for acute animal experiments must not only be strong enough to survive a maximal force that exceeded the penetration force, but must also be able to withstand high tension forces during retraction. Careful cleaning is not only important to avoid foreign body response, but can also reduce the stress applied to the electrode while penetrating the brain tissue.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1621145
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)934-940
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 01.05.2006


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