3D plasmonic nanoantennas integrated with MEA biosensors†
Neuronal signaling in brain circuits occurs at multiple scales ranging from molecules and cells to large neuronal assemblies. However, current sensing neurotechnologies are not designed for parallel access of signals at multiple scales. With the aim of combining nanoscale molecular sensing with electrical neural activity recordings within large neuronal assemblies, in this work three-dimensional (3D) plasmonic nanoantennas are integrated with multielectrode arrays (MEA). Nanoantennas are fabricated by fast ion beam milling on optical resist; gold is deposited on the nanoantennas in order to connect them electrically to the MEA microelectrodes and to obtain plasmonic behavior. The optical properties of these 3D nanostructures are studied through finite elements method (FEM) simulations that show a high electromagnetic field enhancement. This plasmonic enhancement is confirmed by surface enhancement Raman spectroscopy of a dye performed in liquid, which presents an enhancement of almost 100 times the incident field amplitude at resonant excitation. Finally, the reported MEA devices are tested on cultured rat hippocampal neurons. Neurons develop by extending branches on the nanostructured electrodes and extracellular action potentials are recorded over multiple days in vitro. Raman spectra of living neurons cultured on the nanoantennas are also acquired. These results highlight that these nanostructures could be potential candidates for combining electrophysiological measures of large networks with simultaneous spectroscopic investigations at the molecular level.