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Front. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00953

Advances in Nano Neuroscience: from Nanomaterials to Nanotools

  • 1Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA), Italy
  • 2University of Antwerp, Belgium
  • 3Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste, Italy

During the last decades, neuroscientists have increasingly exploited a variety of artificial, de-novo synthesized materials with controlled nano-sized features. For instance, a renewed interest in the development of prostheses or neural interfaces was driven by the availability of novel nanomaterials that enabled the fabrication of implantable bioelectronics interfaces with reduced side effects and increased integration with the target biological tissue. The peculiar physical-chemical properties of nanomaterials have also contributed to the engineering of novel imaging devices towards sophisticated experimental settings, to smart fabricated scaffolds and microelectrodes, or other tools ultimately aimed at a better understanding of neural tissue functions. In this review, we focus on nanomaterials and specifically on carbon-based nanomaterials, such as carbon nanotubes and graphene. While these materials raise potential safety concerns, they represent a tremendous technological opportunity for the restoration of neuronal functions. We then describe nanotools such as nanowires and nano-modified MEA for high-performance electrophysiological recording and stimulation of neuronal electrical activity. We finally focus on the fabrication of three-dimensional synthetic nanostructures, used as substrates to interface biological cells and tissues in vitro and in vivo.

Keywords: neuroengineering, nanomaterials, nanoscience, Neuroscience, Nanotools

Received: 25 Jun 2018; Accepted: 30 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Orit Shefi, Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Reviewed by:

Bruce C. Wheeler, University of Florida, United States
Christelle Prinz, Lund University, Sweden  

Copyright: © 2018 Pampaloni, Giugliano, Scaini, Ballerini and Rauti. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Prof. Laura Ballerini, Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA), Trieste, 34136, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, ballerin@sissa.it
PhD. Rossana Rauti, Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA), Trieste, 34136, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, rrauti@sissa.it