Electronic transducers of neuronal cellular activity are important devices in neuroscience and neurology. Organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) offer tailored surface chemistry, mechanical flexibility, and high sensitivity to electrostatic potential changes at device interfaces. These properties make them attractive for interfacing electronics to neural cells and performing extracellular recordings and stimulation of neuronal network activity.
Here I want to present an emerging area of interest where the OFET is used as a gauge to supply a variety of electrical, chemical and electrochemical stimuli to neuronal cells, in an effort to stimulate their plasticity else to differentiate neuronal stem cells into neurons. I will overview the progresses of an ongoing EU project, “Implantable Organic Nanoelectronics” (I-ONE-FP7) which is aimed to the use of organic electronics in implantable devices for the treatment of the spinal cord injury (SCI). The project is presently at midterm, and I will highlight the advances to date and discuss the direction of further development towards in-vivo experiments on animal model of the SCI.
This work involves collaboration of several partners, that I would like to acknowledge through the principal investigators: S. Pluchino (Univ. of Cambridge), M. Berggren and D. Simon (Univ. Linkoeping), F. Zerbetto and S. Rapino (Univ. of Bologna), P. Greco (Scriba Nanotecnologie Srl Bologna), L. Occhipinti (ST Microelectronics Catania), D. Vuillaume (CNRS, Lille), R. Garcia (CSIC Madrid), H. Gomes (Univ. do Algarve), R. Frycek (Amires Sarl, Neuchatel), E. Cerna and V. Velebny (Contipro Dolni Dobrouc), T. Cramer, S. Casalini, F. Valle (CNR-ISMN Bologna), G. Foschi, C. A. Bortolotti, N. Dorigo (UNIMORE).
This work is supported by EU NMP Project I-ONE Grant Agreement n. 280772.