Silk coating as a novel delivery system and reversible adhesive for stiffening and shaping flexible probes
The performance of any implantable electrode depends not only on its recording or stimulation capabilities but also on its position in relation to the target site. Electrode displacement during or after implantation represents a major issue as it might result in tissue damage or incorrect recording or stimulation location, complicating the interpretation of experimental data. Although thin-film electrode arrays have overcome some of the main limitations of more traditional, stiffer probes, their intrinsic flexibility and unilateral contacts represent a new challenge: they tend to bend during insertion and are difficult to implant simultaneously while maintaining a specific relative position. Here, we present a method that addresses all these issues using a coating of silk fibroin, a versatile protein derived from silkworm cocoons. The method is demonstrated by acquiring electromyographic (EMG) recordings in Manduca sexta, a soft-bodied animal that exemplifies the issues of electrode insertion and placement in delicate and deformable tissues.
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