J Neural Eng 2007 Jun 2;4(2):L6-L13. Epub 2007 Feb 2.
Regenerative Sciences Program, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.
A number of biomedical devices require extended electrical communication with surrounding tissue. Significant improvements in device performance would be achieved if it were possible to maintain communication with target cells despite the reactive, insulating scar tissue that forms at the device-tissue interface. Here, we report that the conducting polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) can be polymerized directly within living neural tissue resulting in an electrically conductive network that is integrated within the tissue. Nano and microscale PEDOT filaments extend out from electrode sites, presumably forming within extracellular spaces. The cloud of PEDOT filaments penetrates out into the tissue far enough that it should be possible to bypass fibrous scar tissue and contact surrounding healthy neurons. These electrically functional, diffuse conducting polymer networks grown directly within tissue signify a new paradigm for creating soft, low impedance implantable electrodes.
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