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Nat Commun. 2014;5:3206. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4206.

Iridium oxide nanotube electrodes for sensitive and prolonged intracellular measurement of action potentials.

Author information

  • 1Department of Applied Physics, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
  • 2Department of Material Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
  • 3Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
  • 41] Department of Material Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA [2] Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, 2575 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, California, California 94025, USA.


Intracellular recording of action potentials is important to understand electrically-excitable cells. Recently, vertical nanoelectrodes have been developed to achieve highly sensitive, minimally invasive and large-scale intracellular recording. It has been demonstrated that the vertical geometry is crucial for the enhanced signal detection. Here we develop nanoelectrodes of a new geometry, namely nanotubes of iridium oxide. When cardiomyocytes are cultured upon those nanotubes, the cell membrane not only wraps around the vertical tubes but also protrudes deep into the hollow centre. We show that this nanotube geometry enhances cell-electrode coupling and results in larger signals than solid nanoelectrodes. The nanotube electrodes also afford much longer intracellular access and are minimally invasive, making it possible to achieve stable recording up to an hour in a single session and more than 8 days of consecutive daily recording. This study suggests that the nanoelectrode performance can be significantly improved by optimizing the electrode geometry.

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