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Nanosensing the Brain

This chapter provides an overview of the features and application of emerging nanomaterials and miniaturized electronic circuits for in vitro neuroscience research. Innovative detection methods and sensors based on nanomaterials offer unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution to elucidate patterns of neuronal firings less invasively and with better signal‐to‐noise ratio. The chapter begins with a brief discussion of nanoparticles and quantum dots, and their application in sensor technology. Incorporation of one‐dimensional nanostructures in cell cultures can be used to induce superior and directed neuronal adhesion and growth. Possibilities for the use of nanowires as probes, nanoelectrodes, optical enhancers and electrical detectors are explored and the use of the amazing two‐dimensional nanostructure graphene in the field of neuroscience is examined, including some of the challenges with incorporating graphene in sensing field effect transistors for detection of neural cells activity. Example applications of nanotechnologies in neuroscience, ranging from sensing of structural deformation of cells to stimulation of neuroregeneration, are described. The chapter concludes with a perspective on the challenges and developments anticipated with the application of nanotechnologies in neuroscience.

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14 Aug 2013
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From the book series:
Detection Science