Ir-Ni oxide as a promising material for nerve and brain stimulating electrodes
Tremendous potential for successful medical device development lies in both electrical stimulation therapies and neuronal prosthetic devices, which can be utilized in an extensive number of neurological disorders. These technologies rely on the successful electrical stimulation of biological tissue (i.e. neurons) through the use of electrodes. However, this technology faces the principal problem of poor stimulus selectivity due to the currently available electrode’s large size relative to its targeted population of neurons. Irreversible damage to both the stimulated tissue and electrode are limiting factors in miniaturization of this technology, as charge density increases with decreasing electrode size. In an attempt to find an equilibrium between these two opposing constraints (electrode size and charge density), the objective of this work was to develop a novel iridium-nickel oxide (Ir0.2-Ni0.8-oxide) coating that could intrinsically offer high charge storage capacity. Thermal decomposition was used to fabricate titanium oxide, iridium oxide, nickel oxide, and bimetallic iridium-nickel oxide coatings on titanium electrode substrates. The Ir0.2-Ni0.8-oxide coating yielded the highest intrinsic (material property) and extrinsic (material property + surface area) charge storage capacity (CSC) among the investigated materials, exceeding the performance of the current state-of-the-art neural stimulating electrode, Ir-oxide. This indicates that the Ir0.2-Ni0.8-oxide material is a promising alternative to currently used Ir-oxide, Pt, Au and carbon-based stimulating electrodes.
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