High-density microelectrode arrays (HD-MEAs) are devices that can be used in biomedical and basic in-vitro research and that provide biochemical and extracellular electrophysiological information about biological systems at high spatial and temporal resolution. They feature a very high spatial density (>5000 electrodes per mm2) of comparably small electrodes (diameters of 5-7 µm and a center-to-center pitch of <15 µm).
By using HD-MEAs it is possible to record comprehensive data sets across scales (subcellular resolution through single neurons to large networks) in various preparations, ranging from organotypic and acute slices to cultures of dissociated neurons and stem-cell-derived neurons. It is also possible to detect low-amplitude signals of action potentials traveling along thin axons (~100 nm diameter). Moreover, the stimulation features of CMOS microtransducer arrays and integrated microsystems offer the capability to bi-directionally interact, also in closed loop and real time, with potentially every single neuron in a given neuronal network. Applications include research in neural diseases and pharmacology.
Andreas Hierlemann got his college education in chemistry at the University of Tübingen, Germany and a Ph.D. degree in 1996. He held Postdoc positions 1997 at Texas A & M University, College Station, TX and 1998 at Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM, USA. He joined the Department of Physics of ETH Zurich 1999, where he was appointed Associate Professor 2004. In 2008, he became Full Professor in the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering of ETH Zurich in Basel. His research interests include the development and application of microsensor, microfluidic, and microelectronic technologies to address questions in biology and medicine with applications in the fields of systems biology, drug testing, personalized medicine, and neuroscience. For details, see www.bsse.ethz.ch/bel.