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Massively parallel microwire arrays for deep brain stimulation

Nanowires, Stanford Neurosciences Institute

Parkinson’s disease affects seven to ten million people worldwide, and the most severe cases are treated using Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). This technique uses a large electrode to apply high frequency electrical stimulation. However, this single electrode indiscriminately affects the entire region around the implantation site, with limited space for refinement. It is therefore critical to develop next generation DBS technology that enables selective targeting of different populations of neural structures, ideally with single neuron and single axon fiber precision. Ideally these could be massively parallel DBS electrode arrays (10,000+ electrodes) to deliver different spatiotemporal patterns of activity to optimize therapeutic efficacy. We will engineer next generation bundled microwires DBS using microwires that are thinner than human hair. We will use a small LED display (similar to an iPhone camera) to deliver patterned stimulation by ‘playing a video’ on the display chip, where each pixel is connected to a microwire. Such fiber based stimulation system can be implanted into the brain and provide high-resolution stimulation capabilities. This will allow more nuanced tuning of the stimulation protocol that can be optimized for individual patients and particular disorders, yielding more successful treatment outcomes.


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Seed Grant
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