Incorporating Novel Functionality on In Vitro Microelectrode Arrays




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The microelectrode array (MEA) is an inexpensive, high throughput platform for measuring and recording extracellular electrical potentials from a culture of electrogenic tissues. However, this technology is not without drawbacks, which this work seeks to address. On conventional MEAs, stimulation of a culture is achieved via electrical stimulation through the electrodes, which may introduce recording artifacts. Optogenetics is a molecular biology technique that can be used to decouple the recording and stimulation functions of the MEA electrode, but hardware required to utilize optogenetics in combination with an MEA is a barrier that prevents utilization of this technique. One project presented here seeks to integrate an MEA with an array of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) driven by thin film transistors (TFTs), to create a multifunctional MEA with optical stimulating capabilities, in order to streamline the hardware required for an in vitro optogenetics recording experiment. Discreet functional components are demonstrated and a proof of concept integrated substrate is presented. Another project presented in this dissertation seeks to insulate the MEA electrodes with polystyrene. The vast set of organic and inorganic materials used to insulate MEA electrodes present challenges to users who must modify cell culture protocols for cell adhesion to the surface of the MEAs. An MEA that features a patterned film of polystyrene, a material that is far more common to cell culture work, as electrode insulation is presented. Viable cell culture on this MEA and recordings that are comparable to other MEA substrates are demonstrated.



Microelectrodes, Optogenetics, Light emitting diodes, Thin film transistors, Polystyrene