Event Abstract

Dual-mode Microelectrode Array with 20k-electrodes and High SNR for High-Throughput Extracellular Recording and Stimulation

  • 1 ETH Zürich, Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, Switzerland
  • 2 MaxWell Biosystems, Switzerland

Motivation Recording and analysis of neuronal signals can provide much insight into how neurons process information and communicate with each other. Recent advancements of microelectrode-array (MEA) technology provide unprecedented means to study neuronal signals and network behavior in in vitro and in vivo applications [1], [2]. The trade-off between noise performance, power consumption and electrode density, however, remains a major challenge in MEA design. To balance this tradeoff, we designed a Dual-mode (DM) MEA that combines two major types of readout schemes, i.e., the active-pixel-sensor (APS) and switch-matrix (SM) schemes, in order to achieve high electrode density and high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) at the same time. Based on a previous prototype [3], the new DM-MEA has shown to be a useful tool for in-vitro neuroscience studies, especially for network studies. Material and Methods The DM-MEA consists of 108 x 192 pixels with a pixel size of 16.8 x 18.2 µm in a hexagonal arrangement [4], resulting in a total of 19,584 electrodes at an electrode pitch of 18.0 µm. The system includes 19,584 APS readout channels, 246 SM readout channels and 8 stimulation buffers. Every electrode can be simultaneously read out in APS and SM mode and can be used for electrical stimulation through voltage or current stimuli. Results The DM-MEA has been fabricated using 0.18 µm CMOS technology. The chip size is 9.0 x 6.0 mm2 with an array size of 2.0 x 3.6 mm2. The noise level, estimated from simulations was 10.4 µVrms for the APS mode and 2.4 µVrms for the SM mode in the action-potential frequency band (300 Hz – 5 kHz), and the total estimated power consumption was 96.8 mW. Currently, we are working on the electrical characterization and initial biological measurements of this DM-MEA. Conclusion Compared to single-mode MEAs (APS or SM), the DM-MEA features more options for recording extracellular action potentials of a wide range of preparations and is particularly suited for studying large neuronal colonies and networks.


Financial support through the European Research Council Advanced Grant 694829 ‘neuroXscales’ is acknowledged.


[1] M. E. J. Obien, K. Deligkaris, T. Bullmann, D. J. Bakkum, and U. Frey, “Revealing neuronal function through microelectrode array recordings,” Front. Neurosci., vol. 8, no. 423, Jan. 2015.
[2] G. Zeck, F. Jetter, L. Channappa, G. Bertotti, and R. Thewes, “Electrical Imaging: Investigating Cellular Function at High Resolution,” Adv. Biosyst., vol. 1, no. 11, p. 1700107, Nov. 2017.
[3] X. Yuan et al., “A microelectrode array with 8,640 electrodes enabling simultaneous full-frame readout at 6.5 kfps and 112-channel switch-matrix readout at 20 kS/s,” in 2016 IEEE Symposium on VLSI Circuits (VLSI-Circuits), 2016, pp. 1–2.
[4] U. Frey et al., “Switch-Matrix-Based High-Density Microelectrode Array in CMOS Technology,” Solid-State Circuits, IEEE J., vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 467–482, Feb. 2010.

Keywords: CMOS MEA, Active-pixel sensor, switch matrix, extracellular recordings, stimulation

Conference: MEA Meeting 2018 | 11th International Meeting on Substrate Integrated Microelectrode Arrays, Reutlingen, Germany, 4 Jul - 6 Jul, 2018.

Presentation Type: Poster Presentation

Topic: Microelectrode Array Technology

Citation: Yuan X, Hierlemann A and Frey U (2019). Dual-mode Microelectrode Array with 20k-electrodes and High SNR for High-Throughput Extracellular Recording and Stimulation. Conference Abstract: MEA Meeting 2018 | 11th International Meeting on Substrate Integrated Microelectrode Arrays. doi: 10.3389/conf.fncel.2018.38.00088

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Received: 16 Mar 2018; Published Online: 17 Jan 2019.

* Correspondence: Ms. Xinyue Yuan, ETH Zürich, Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, Basel, Switzerland, xinyue.yuan@bsse.ethz.ch