Tech ID: 32676 / UC Case 2021-Z08-1


Electrophysiological devices are critical for mapping eloquent and diseased brain regions and for therapeutic neuromodulation in clinical settings and are extensively utilized for research in brain-machine interfaces. However, the existing devices are often limited in either spatial resolution or cortical coverage, even including those with thousands of channels used in animal experiments.

Technology Description

Researchers from UC San Diego have developed scalable manufacturing processes and dense connectorization to achieve reconfigurable thin-film, multi-thousand channel neurophysiological recording grids using platinum-nanorods (PtNRGrids). The PtNRGrids technology achieves a multi-thousand channel array of small (30 micron) contacts with low impedance, providing unparalleled spatial and temporal resolution over a large cortical area.



Developed for the awake neurosurgical mapping in patients with brain tumors or epilepsy. The fields of invention can also be used in closed loop neuromodulation devices in brain, spinal, and peripheral nerve implants, cardiac pacemakers, and a variety of other electrophysiology and electrochemical sensors and stimulators that can generally interface with human tissue above or below the skin surface.


This technology will support greater spatial localization of neurophysiological activity, thereby improving resective boundaries in advanced neurosurgeries.


The multithousand channel cortical electrode arrays are composed only of passive elements, so, unlike implantable devices integrated with active electronics units, the electrodes are compatible with conventional medical grade sterilizers.

Collectively, these findings demonstrate the power of the PtNRGrids to transform clinical mapping and research with brain-machine interfaces and highlights a path toward novel therapeutics.


These soft-backed brain-computer interfaces are thinner and lighter than the traditional, glass backings of these kinds of brain-computer interfaces. The researchers note in their Advanced Functional Materials paper that light, flexible backings may reduce irritation of the brain tissue that contacts the arrays of sensors. 

The flexible backings are also transparent. The researchers demonstrate (see reference by Lee et al 2022) that this transparency can be leveraged to perform fundamental neuroscience research involving animal models that would not be possible otherwise. The team, for example, demonstrated simultaneous electrical recording from arrays of penetrating micro-needles as well as optogenetic photostimulation.



State Of Development

PtNRGrids can resolve sub-millimeter functional organization of the barrel cortex in anesthetized rats that captured the histochemically-demonstrated structure. In the clinical setting, PtNRGrids resolved fine, complex temporal dynamics from the cortical surface in an awake human patient performing grasping tasks. Additionally, the PtNRGrids identified the spatial spread and dynamics of epileptic discharges in a patient undergoing epilepsy surgery at 1 mm spatial resolution, including activity induced by direct electrical stimulation.

Intellectual Property Info

This patent-pending technology is available for commercial development.

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Other Information


medical physics, biological physics, Electrophysiological devices, neuronal dynamics, Brain Mapping, brain-machine interface, neurophysiological recording, cortical electrode array, neurosurgical mapping

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