Electrical stimulation of neurons is a recognised therapeutic approach for the treatment of neurodegenerative pathologies (Parkinson disease etc). These techniques could have a high impact on treatments of other pathologies like epilepsy or blindness. Available commercial devices based on metalised electrodes degrade in physiological environments and induce reactive gliosis, incompatible with fabrication of implants, where a long term stability is mandatory and a closer neuro-electronic interface is required to lower the neuronal activation threshold.
The high resolution required for vision and the stimulation of graded potential neurons need complex and very precise stimulators. DREAMS propose to study and fabricate novel types of nanotransducers, based on artificial nanocrystalline diamond (NCD) that exhibits extreme biocompatibility and stability in physiological media. NCD coated and functionalised metallic electrodes or non- metalised CMOS devices will be fabricated, leading to novel active neural c ell-hybrid structures and biocompatible implants to restore a useful vision. Survival of neurons and retinal cells will be evaluated and in-vitro stability and the ability to activate neurones will be tested. DREAMS will lead to the fabrication of matrixes of Field Effect Transistors that can be validated for stimulation of the retina as well as for readout of the retinal signals in-vivo.
- FP6-NMP - Nanotechnologies and nanosciences, knowledge-based multifunctional materials and new production processes and devices: thematic priority 3 under the 'Focusing and integrating community research' of the 'Integrating and strengthening the European Research Area' specific programme 2002-2006.
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