Extra-cellular recordings from excitable cell cultures using microelectrode arrays (MEAs) are now a well-accepted technique in both fundamental neuroscience research and applied electrophysiology. Nevertheless the current technological limitations restrict the mapping of spatio-temporal patterns capabilities of MEAs. In order to gain access to more detailed information on distributed processing, synaptic plasticity and spatially propagating activity patterns, the capabilities of recording the electrophysiological activity of increasingly complex electrogenic cell networks (i.e the MEAs mapping features) have to be upgraded. This requires the development of new high-resolution experimental tools. The aim of this project is to develop an enabling technology platform, based on an Active Pixel Sensor (APS) concept and signal and data processing algorithms for high spatial and temporal resolution recording and analysis of the electrophysiological activity of neuronal networks. The APS technology is used in CMOS cameras for example for fluorescence measurements. Our approach is based on changing the light-sensitivity pixel functionality to create a high-density array of metallic microelectrodes on a large active surface area. The APS-MEAs technology allows the integration of in-pixel and on-chip electronic circuits for signal amplification and high-speed addressing. The proposed technological platform together with the appropriate development of advanced signal and data processing algorithms will provide the scientific community a new validated experimental tool allowing to correlate local and intrinsic features at single cell and small neuronal network levels with global dynamic features of large assemblies of neurons.
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Funding SchemeNoE - Network of Excellence