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OCMFET-based system to monitor cells activity

In vitro and in vivo electrophysiologyNeuroengineeringOrganic Charge Modulated FET

Introduction

The invention consists in an array of peculiar organic transistors. It is specifically designed for electrophysiological applications. The system is optimized to detect the small charge variations due to the electrical activity of the cells. The device can be fabricated with low-cost techniques and biocompatible, lightweight and transparent materials.

Technical features

The system is based on the Organic Charge Modulated FET (OCMFET), a floating gate organic transistor that allows detecting a charge located onto the so called “sensing area”. The system consists in an OCMFET array specifically designed to host cell cultures, which has been optimized for the detection of the local charge displacement during the electrical activity of electroactive cells, such as neurons and cardiomyocytes. In particular, the central part of the device (where the sensing areas are fabricated) has been designed using biocompatible materials which promote cells adhesion and viability.These transistors can be operated at low voltages, while the whole fabrication process is compatible with the employment of flexible and transparent plastic substrates, for applications such as testing new drugs, innovative man-machine interfaces, neurostimulation systems.

Possible Applications

  • Brain machine interfaces;
  • Neuro pharmacology;
  • Whole cell biosensors.

Advantages

  • The system can be fabricated onto low-cost, flexible and transparent substrates;
  • No external reference electrode required;
  • Each transistor can be independently addressed;
  • The sensing area and the organic semiconductor are physically separated.