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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 May 5;106(18):7309-13. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0902752106. Epub 2009 Apr 13.

Flexible electrical recording from cells using nanowire transistor arrays.

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School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


Semiconductor nanowires (NWs) have unique electronic properties and sizes comparable with biological structures involved in cellular communication, thus making them promising nanostructures for establishing active interfaces with biological systems. We report a flexible approach to interface NW field-effect transistors (NWFETs) with cells and demonstrate this for silicon NWFET arrays coupled to embryonic chicken cardiomyocytes. Cardiomyocyte cells were cultured on thin, optically transparent polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) sheets and then brought into contact with Si-NWFET arrays fabricated on standard substrates. NWFET conductance signals recorded from cardiomyocytes exhibited excellent signal-to-noise ratios with values routinely >5 and signal amplitudes that were tuned by varying device sensitivity through changes in water gate-voltage potential, V(g). Signals recorded from cardiomyocytes for V(g) from -0.5 to +0.1 V exhibited amplitude variations from 31 to 7 nS whereas the calibrated voltage remained constant, indicating a robust NWFET/cell interface. In addition, signals recorded as a function of increasing/decreasing displacement of the PDMS/cell support to the device chip showed a reversible >2x increase in signal amplitude (calibrated voltage) from 31 nS (1.0 mV) to 72 nS (2.3 mV). Studies with the displacement close to but below the point of cell disruption yielded calibrated signal amplitudes as large as 10.5 +/- 0.2 mV. Last, multiplexed recording of signals from NWFET arrays interfaced to cardiomyocyte monolayers enabled temporal shifts and signal propagation to be determined with good spatial and temporal resolution. Our modular approach simplifies the process of interfacing cardiomyocytes and other cells to high-performance Si-NWFETs, thus increasing the experimental versatility of NWFET arrays and enabling device registration at the subcellular level.

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