DEVELOPMENT TOWARDS IMPROVED DURABILITY OF IMPLANTED NEUROPROSTHETIC ELECTRODES THROUGH SURFACE MODIFICATIONS
thesisposted on 12.10.2021, 13:20 by Christian Phillip VetterChristian Phillip Vetter
The present thesis was completed to satisfy two functions in our laboratory: (1) explore carbon-black (CB) as an additive for electrodeposited intrinsically conductive polymers (ICPs) to improve electrical properties across the electrode-electrolyte interface for use in neuromodulation; and (2) design a histology protocol that will analyze peripheral nerve system (PNS) tissue following implantation of conventional metal and modified conventional metal electrodes with the ICP poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophere):poly(styrenesulfonate)/carbon-black (PEDOT:PSS/CB). It would appear that the functions explored may seem unrelated, however, these two topics play a crucial role in designing a viable electrode for use in acute and chronic neuromodulation and the subsequent analysis required to determine the mechanical properties and overall biocompatibility of design.
A series of experiments with different PEDOT:PSS solutions containing varying amounts of suspended CB (n=19; 0 mg/mL to 2 mg/mL) were explored. Solutions were characterized using cyclic voltammetry (CV) using the intended electrode for deposition, composed of stainless steel (SS), as the working electrode (WE) to determine respective redox potentials. SS was chosen because of its inherently bad electrochemical properties, meaning that improved functionality post electrodeposition would be easy to identify. Immediately following CV, stainless-steel electrodes were electrodeposited using one of two techniques: (1) potentiostat, allowing the cell to rest at the redox potential required for bipolaron formation (0.9 V); or (2) galvanostat, where the electrode was submitted to a constant current of 200 mA and allowed to coat. Rapid electrochemical impedance spectroscopy was performed prior to and immediately following coating to determine the pre-electrochemical and post-electrochemical impedance characteristics. Results indicate that there was a positive relationship between the amount of CB additive and the relative impedance drop between the uncoated and coated counterparts. Furthermore, the modified electrochemical interfaces are substantially improved for use in frequency ranges of 10 Hz to 50 kHz, which encompass the ranges of our labs recently discovered low frequency alternating current (LFAC) for use in neuromodulation; thus indicating that PEDOT:PSS/CB modification may be used to improve impedance characteristics during our future LFAC experiments. This protocol, the one that contains the ideal concentration of carbon-black, was then recorded and will be used in our lab.
Histology protocols were developed to improve our labs capabilities of post-mortem analysis of PNS tissue. Processing and embedding preparations that explored included paraffin, acrylic, and frozen. Subsequently, staining protocols were developed; however, they varied as a function of the embedding media used; staining protocols developed incorporated progressive and regressive hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining as well as toluidine blue (TB). Tissue was sectioned and observed using light microscopy.
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