Advances in Implantable Microelectrode Array Insertion and Positioning

David Atkinson, Tania D'Souza, Jai Singh Rajput, Nishat Tasnim, Jit Muthuswamy, Hamid Marvi, Joseph J. Pancrazio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: Microelectrode arrays offer a means to probe the functional circuitry of the brain and the promise of cortical neuroprosthesis for individuals suffering from paralysis or limb loss. These devices are typically comprised of one or more shanks incorporating microelectrode sites, where the shanks are positioned by inserting the devices along a straight path that is normal to the brain surface. The lack of consistent long-term chronic recording technology has driven interest in novel probe design and approaches that go beyond the standard insertion approach that is limited to a single velocity or axis. This review offers a description of typical approaches and associated limitations and surveys emergent methods for implantation of microelectrode arrays, in particular those new approaches that leverage embedded microactuators and extend the insertion direction beyond a single axis. Materials and Methods: This review paper surveys the current technologies that enable probe implantation, repositioning, and the capability to record/stimulate from a tissue volume. A comprehensive literature search was performed using PubMed, Web of Science, and Google Scholar. Results: There has been substantial innovation in the development of microscale and embedded technology that enables probe repositioning to maintain quality recordings in the brain. Innovations in material science have resulted in novel strategies for deployable structures that can record from or stimulate a tissue volume. Moreover, new developments involving magnetically steerable catheters and needles offer an alternative approach to “pull” rather than “push” a probe into the tissue. Conclusion: We envision the emergence of a new generation of probes and insertion methodologies for neuromodulation applications that enable reliable chronic performance from devices that can be positioned virtually anywhere in the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)789-795
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Array
  • implantation
  • insertion
  • microelectrode
  • tissue response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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