Viability of a novel stretchable microelectrode array for epimysial implantation
Cheek, Ashton Leigh
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Stretchable microelectrode arrays (sMEAs) have been identified for use as neuroprosthetics to treat paralysis. Previous research has focused on assessment of electrical viability and biocompatibility of a novel sMEA device design. However, the mechanical functionality of the device, when implanted epimysially, has yet to be characterized. The device consists of stainless steel arrowhead-shaped electrodes with barbs to promote adhesion to the surface of muscle. A polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrate is used to promote conformation to the muscle surface and stretching of the device alongside muscle movement. Silver PDMS traces are used as stretchable circuits for the device. The adhesive ability of the device, the effect of the device on muscle contraction, and the tensile strain v. resistance relationship of the stretchable traces are assessed. The ninth electrode design is found to be the best design for adhesion of the device epimysially amongst eleven other electrode designs. Epimysial implantation of the device on cat gastrocnemius is not found to significantly affect muscle contraction. The silver PDMS traces are found to fail at 90% strains on average and resistance increases with strain. Stretching cycles of 50% strain are found to consistently increase the base resistance of traces.