Inkjet-printed PEDOT:PSS multi-electrode arrays for low-cost in vitro electrophysiology†
Multi-electrode arrays (MEAs) have become a key element in the study of cellular phenomena in vitro. Common modern MEAs are still based on costly microfabrication techniques, making them expensive tools that researchers are pushed to reuse, compromising the reproducibility and the quality of the acquired data. There is a need to develop novel fabrication strategies, able to produce disposable devices that incorporate advanced technologies beyond the standard metal electrodes on rigid substrates. Here we present an innovative fabrication process for the production of polymer-based flexible MEAs. The device fabrication exploited inkjet printing, as this low-cost manufacturing method allows for an easy and reliable patterning of conducting polymers. Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) was used as the sole conductive element of the MEAs. The physical structure and the electrical properties of the plastic/printed MEAs (pMEAs) were characterised, showing a low impedance that is maintained also in the long term. The biocompatibility of the devices was demonstrated, and their capability to successfully establish a tight coupling with cells was proved. Furthermore, the pMEAs were used to monitor the extracellular potentials from cardiac cell cultures and to record high quality electrophysiological signals from them. Our results validate the use of pMEAs as in vitro electrophysiology platforms, pushing for the adoption of innovative fabrication techniques and the use of new materials for the production of MEAs.