Highly doped polycrystalline silicon microelectrodes reduce noise in neuronal recordings in vivo

Rajarshi Saha, Nathan Jackson, Chetan Patel, Jitendran Muthuswamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The aims of this study are to 1) experimentally validate for the first time the nonlinear current-potential characteristics of bulk doped polycrystalline silicon in the small amplitude voltage regimes (0200 μV) and 2) test if noise amplitudes ( 015 μV) from single neuronal electrical recordings get selectively attenuated in doped polycrystalline silicon microelectrodes due to the above property. In highly doped polycrystalline silicon, bulk resistances of several hundred kilo-ohms were experimentally measured for voltages typical of noise amplitudes and 9-10 kΩ for voltages typical of neural signal amplitudes (> 150-200 μV). Acute multiunit measurements and noise measurements were made in n=6 and n=8 anesthetized adult rats, respectively, using polycrystalline silicon and tungsten microelectrodes. There was no significant difference in the peak-to-peak amplitudes of action potentials recorded from either microelectrode (p > 0.10). However, noise power in the recordings from tungsten microelectrodes (26.36 ± 10.13 pW} was significantly higher (p < 0.001) than the corresponding value in polycrystalline silicon microelectrodes (7.49 ± 2.66 pW}). We conclude that polycrystalline silicon microelectrodes result in selective attenuation of noise power in electrical recordings compared to tungsten microelectrodes. This reduction in noise compared to tungsten microelectrodes is likely due to the exponentially higher bulk resistances offered by highly doped bulk polycrystalline silicon in the range of voltages corresponding to noise in multiunit measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5524035
Pages (from-to)489-497
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Brain implants
  • brain prosthesis
  • brainmachine interface
  • neural prostheses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • General Neuroscience
  • Biomedical Engineering


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