Scientists at the University of Virginia, in collaboration with the Oak Ridge National Lab, have recently demonstrated a novel method for the fabrication of carbon electrodes for neurotransmitter detection. The research team applied Nanoscribe’s 3D printing technology followed by pyrolysis to produce free-standing electrodes of different shapes on the narrow tip of metal wires. In a post-print step, the 3D-printed polymer structures were decomposed through heating, causing carbonization and shrinkage while keeping the original geometry. This novel carbon electrode fabrication technique facilitates device designs with customizable geometries, electroactive carbon surfaces, free-standing structures and high reproducibility for batch production. The method resulted in well-defined carbon microelectrodes with high resolution and suitability as implantable microsensors for in vivo measurements.
In neuroscience research, the monitoring of brain chemicals, such as dopamine, requires neurosensor devices that meet the needs in size, detection speed and batch production requirements. 3D-printed carbon microelectrodes are biologically well suited to handle cells, with overall dimensions in the micrometer range and are promising for batch fabrication of customized designs. In this study the performance tests of the microsensors were carried out in dopamine as well as other neurochemicals, such as serotonin or ascorbic acid. The 3D-printed electrodes were implanted into rat brain slices and detected, for example, dopamine concentrations. These findings will be useful in the development of novel implantable neurochemical devices for neurotransmitter detection and neurostimulation in the brain.
Read more in the scientific publication “3D‐Printed Carbon Electrodes for Neurotransmitter Detection”.