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neural interface, silicon carbide, robust microelectrode

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Intracortical neural interfaces (INI) have made impressive progress in recent years but still display questionable long-term reliability. Here, we report on the development and characterization of highly resilient monolithic silicon carbide (SiC) neural devices. SiC is a physically robust, biocompatible, and chemically inert semiconductor. The device support was micromachined from p-type SiC with conductors created from n-type SiC, simultaneously providing electrical isolation through the resulting p-n junction. Electrodes possessed geometric surface area (GSA) varying from 496 to 500 K μm2. Electrical characterization showed high-performance p-n diode behavior, with typical turn-on voltages of ~2.3 V and reverse bias leakage below 1 nArms. Current leakage between adjacent electrodes was ~7.5 nArms over a voltage range of −50 V to 50 V. The devices interacted electrochemically with a purely capacitive relationship at frequencies less than 10 kHz. Electrode impedance ranged from 675 ± 130 kΩ (GSA = 496 µm2) to 46.5 ± 4.80 kΩ (GSA = 500 K µm2). Since the all-SiC devices rely on the integration of only robust and highly compatible SiC material, they offer a promising solution to probe delamination and biological rejection associated with the use of multiple materials used in many current INI devices.

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Micromachines, v. 9, issue 8, art. 412