Integrated Nanoscale Tools for Interrogating Living Cells

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Integrated Nanoscale Tools for Interrogating Living Cells

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Title: Integrated Nanoscale Tools for Interrogating Living Cells
Author: Jorgolli, Marsela ORCID  0000-0002-3607-4197
Citation: Jorgolli, Marsela. 2015. Integrated Nanoscale Tools for Interrogating Living Cells. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
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Abstract: The development of next-generation, nanoscale technologies that interface biological systems will pave the way towards new understanding of such complex systems. Nanowires – one-dimensional nanoscale structures – have shown unique potential as an ideal physical interface to biological systems. Herein, we focus on the development of nanowire-based devices that can enable a wide variety of biological studies. First, we built upon standard nanofabrication techniques to optimize nanowire devices, resulting in perfectly ordered arrays of both opaque (Silicon) and transparent (Silicon dioxide) nanowires with user defined structural profile, densities, and overall patterns, as well as high sample consistency and large scale production. The high-precision and well-controlled fabrication method in conjunction with additional technologies laid the foundation for the generation of highly specialized platforms for imaging, electrochemical interrogation, and molecular biology.
Next, we utilized nanowires as the fundamental structure in the development of integrated nanoelectronic platforms to directly interrogate the electrical activity of biological systems. Initially, we generated a scalable intracellular electrode platform based on vertical nanowires that allows for parallel electrical interfacing to multiple mammalian neurons. Our prototype device consisted of 16 individually addressable stimulation/recording sites, each containing an array of 9 electrically active silicon nanowires. We showed that these vertical nanowire electrode arrays could intracellularly record and stimulate neuronal activity in dissociated cultures of rat cortical neurons similar to patch clamp electrodes. In addition, we used our intracellular electrode platform to measure multiple individual synaptic connections, which enables the reconstruction of the functional connectivity maps of neuronal circuits.
In order to expand and improve the capability of this functional prototype device we designed and fabricated a new hybrid chip that combines a front-side nanowire-based interface for neuronal recording with backside complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) circuits for on-chip multiplexing, voltage control for stimulation, signal amplification, and signal processing. Individual chips contain 1024 stimulation/recording sites enabling large-scale interfacing of neuronal networks with single cell resolution. Through electrical and electrochemical characterization of the devices, we demonstrated their enhanced functionality at a massively parallel scale. In our initial cell experiments, we achieved intracellular stimulations and recordings of changes in the membrane potential in a variety of cells including: HEK293T, cardiomyocytes, and rat cortical neurons. This demonstrated the device capability for single-cell-resolution recording/stimulation which when extended to a large number of neurons in a massively parallel fashion will enable the functional mapping of a complex neuronal network.
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