Design and Implementation of Functional Nanoelectronic Interfaces With Biomolecules, Cells, and Tissue Using Nanowire Device Arrays

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA. He is now with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139 USA.
IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology (Impact Factor: 1.83). 05/2010; 9(3):269-280. DOI: 10.1109/TNANO.2009.2031807
Source: PubMed


Nanowire FETs (NWFETs) are promising building blocks for nanoscale bioelectronic interfaces with cells and tissue since they are known to exhibit exquisite sensitivity in the context of chemical and biological detection, and have the potential to form strongly coupled interfaces with cell membranes. We present a general scheme that can be used to assemble NWs with rationally designed composition and geometry on either planar inorganic or biocompatible flexible plastic surfaces. We demonstrate that these devices can be used to measure signals from neurons, cardiomyocytes, and heart tissue. Reported signals are in millivolts range, which are equal to or substantially greater than those recorded with either planar FETs or multielectrode arrays, and demonstrate one unique advantage of NW-based devices. Basic studies showing the effect of device sensitivity and cell/substrate junction quality on signal magnitude are presented. Finally, our demonstrated ability to design high-density arrays of NWFETs enables us to map signal at the subcellular level, a functionality not enabled by conventional microfabricated devices. These advances could have broad applications in high-throughput drug assays, fundamental biophysical studies of cellular function, and development of powerful prosthetics.

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    • "The active devices with a NW field effect transistor (FET) design are of great promise not only as electronic devices but also as interfaces and sensors in biological systems [2]. Electrical measurements and probing of living cells and tissues through NW-FET interfaces exhibit high signal-to-noise ratios due to small active area and protrusion capabilities of those devices [3]. For large doping with a carrier concentration of 10 18 –10 19 carriers/cm 3 the Debye screening length is of order of few nanometers [4], which is much smaller than the NW diameter. "
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    ABSTRACT: The effect of dielectric embedding on the capacitance of back-gated nanowires can be accurately captured as an effective dielectric constant that depends solely on the difference between the nanowire-gate distance and the dielectric thickness. When used for sensing purposes this property provides the maximum sensitivity within a range of two diameters around the center of the nanowire. Keywords—semiconductor nanowire; capacitance; field effect transistor; carrier mobility.
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    • "Meanwhile, nanomaterials can potentially be exploited to achieve ultra-high sensitivity for various label-free biosensing applications as well as in direct probing of living cell activities [17-20]. Among nanomaterials developed to date, nanowires in particular have high aspect ratios, surface areas, and very small diameters on a sub-100-nm scale. "
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    ABSTRACT: The single living cell action potential was measured in an intracellular mode by using a vertical nanoelectrode. For intracellular interfacing, Si nanowires were vertically grown in a controlled manner, and optimum conditions, such as diameter, length, and nanowire density, were determined by culturing cells on the nanowires. Vertical nanowire probes were then fabricated with a complimentary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) process including sequential deposition of the passivation and electrode layers on the nanowires, and a subsequent partial etching process. The fabricated nanowire probes had an approximately 60-nm diameter and were intracellular. These probes interfaced with a GH3 cell and measured the spontaneous action potential. It successfully measured the action potential, which rapidly reached a steady state with average peak amplitude of approximately 10 mV, duration of approximately 140 ms, and period of 0.9 Hz.
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    • "They also have a potential for better biocompatibility [18]–[21], less tissue damage [12], [13], [18], [22] and new functionalities, such as selective guidance of neuronal fibers [23]. Importantly, cell signal recordings with different nanowire-based electrodes have recently been achieved in vitro [8]–[10], [12]–[14], [24], [25] and it has been shown that the small diameter of epitaxially grown wires may provide a minimally invasive tissue penetration [12]–[14], [26], [27]. However, in vivo studies of nanostructured neuronal electrodes have, so far, only been performed using carbon nanotubes without structural features control and in combination with rather big surfaces [15], [17]. "
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    ABSTRACT: We present an electrode, based on structurally controlled nanowires, as a first step towards developing a useful nanostructured device for neurophysiological measurements in vivo. The sensing part of the electrode is made of a metal film deposited on top of an array of epitaxially grown gallium phosphide nanowires. We achieved the first functional testing of the nanowire-based electrode by performing acute in vivo recordings in the rat cerebral cortex and withstanding multiple brain implantations. Due to the controllable geometry of the nanowires, this type of electrode can be used as a model system for further analysis of the functional properties of nanostructured neuronal interfaces in vivo.
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