FLEXIBLE NEURAL IMPLANTS Thesis by Ray Kui-Jui Huang In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY Pasadena, California
This paper describes the scaling limitations of multichannel recording probes fabricated for use in neurophysiology using silicon integrated circuit technologies. Scaled silicon probe substrates 8 microns thick and 16 microns wide can be fabricated using boron etch-stop techniques. Theoretical expressions for calculating the thickness and width of silicon substrates have been derived and agree closely with experimental results. The effects of scaling probe dimensions on its strength and stiffness are described. The probe shank dimensions can be designed to vary the strength and stiffness for different applications. The scaled silicon substrates have a fracture stress of about 2 x 10(10) dyn/cm2, which is about six times that of bulk silicon, and are strong and very flexible. Scaling the feature sizes of recording electrode arrays down to 1 micron is possible with less than 1 percent electrical crosstalk between channels.