Flexible Nanofiber-Based Electrodes for Material Property-Matched Neural Interfacing

J. Remer, C. Tison, K. Yoshida, A. Joshi-Imre, L. Costella
Luna Innovations, United States

Keywords: neural interface, flexible, nanofiber, electrode

The inability to properly match the material properties of neural interfacing devices to native tissues has limited the implementation of newly developed technologies. To address the 5-6 order of magnitude discrepancy in elastic modulus that currently exists with available products and materials, Luna is working with collaborators at UT-Dallas and IUPUI to develop a unique nanofiber-based interface system. These interfaces utilize the unique material properties of electrospun nanofiber mats (e.g., bending stiffness scales cubically with diameter) to achieve the material properties required for surgical implantation and sustained bidirectional communication with peripheral nerves without compromising electronic functionality. This material technology is being proposed for use with the transverse intrafascicular multichannel electrode (TIME) system, but will also be applicable to other neural interface technologies in the future. Luna has successfully demonstrated the feasibility of these nanofiber-based materials for neural interfacing applications. This approach provides better mechanical match to native tissue, while maintaining the electronic and biologic properties required for bidirectional communication with the peripheral nervous system. In vivo studies are being completed to investigate the functionality of these prototypes.