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Bio-Sensors

Researchers Make Semiconductor from Brain Cells

21 years, 2 months ago

9706  0
Posted on Dec 16, 2002, 4 p.m. By Bill Freeman

In a pioneering experiment, German researchers have made a semiconductor using neurons from a living creature. Study co-author Dr Peter Fromherz, from the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich said of his creation: "This is the first direct functional interfacing of a living neuronal network with an electronic semiconductor chip.

In a pioneering experiment, German researchers have made a semiconductor using neurons from a living creature. Study co-author Dr Peter Fromherz, from the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich said of his creation: "This is the first direct functional interfacing of a living neuronal network with an electronic semiconductor chip. It is a further step on our road to combine the elements of brains and computers."

The team managed to grow neurons taken from a snail onto a semiconductor chip and then successfully passed an electrical signal from the chip to the neuronal network and back.

The scientists also discovered that it was possible to record electrical measurements from the chip without damaging the neurons. The success of the experiment increases the possibility that in the future it may be possible to use semiconductor chips as biosensors to aid drug development or even as prosthetics, for example in the eyes or ears.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2001; 98:10457-10462

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