Microfluidic neural probes: in vivo tools for advancing neuroscience
Microfluidic neural probes hold immense potential as in vivo tools for dissecting neural circuit function in complex nervous systems. Miniaturization, integration, and automation of drug delivery tools open up new opportunities for minimally invasive implants. These developments provide unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution in fluid delivery as well as multifunctional interrogation of neural activity using combined electrical and optical modalities. Capitalizing on these unique features, microfluidic technology will greatly advance in vivo pharmacology, electrophysiology, optogenetics, and optopharmacology. In this review, we discuss recent advances in microfluidic neural probe systems. In particular, we will highlight the materials and manufacturing processes of microfluidic probes, device configurations, peripheral devices for fluid handling and packaging, and wireless technologies that can be integrated for the control of these microfluidic probe systems. This article summarizes various microfluidic implants and discusses grand challenges and future directions for further developments.