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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Aug 28;98(18):10457-62.

Noninvasive neuroelectronic interfacing with synaptically connected snail neurons immobilized on a semiconductor chip.

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Department of Membrane and Neurophysics, Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, D 82152 Martinsried/Munich, Germany.


A hybrid circuit of a semiconductor chip and synaptically connected neurons was implemented and characterized. Individual nerve cells from the snail Lymnaea stagnalis were immobilized on a silicon chip by microscopic picket fences of polyimide. The cells formed a network with electrical synapses after outgrowth in brain conditioned medium. Pairs of neurons were electronically interfaced for noninvasive stimulation and recording. Voltage pulses were applied to a capacitive stimulator on the chip to excite the attached neuron. Signals were transmitted in the neuronal net and elicited an action potential in a second neuron. The postsynaptic excitation modulated the current of a transistor on the chip. The implementation of the silicon-neuron-neuron-silicon circuit constitutes a proof-of-principle experiment for the development of neuroelectronic systems to be used in studies on neuronal signal processing, neurocomputation, and neuroprosthetics.

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