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Lab, Field, & Clinic
October 4, 2006

Nanowires Take On Neuroscience

JAMA. 2006;296(13):1580. doi:10.1001/jama.296.13.1580

Scientists have brought nanotechnology to neuroscience, using microscopic silicon nanowires to detect, stimulate, and inhibit nerve signals along the axons and dendrites of mammalian neurons (Patolsky F et al. Science. 2006;313:1100-1104).

Established techniques for neuron studies use larger, cumbersome devices that interface with a whole cell or many cells at a time. For example, micropipette electrodes are invasive tools that can harm cells, and microfabricated electrode arrays are too bulky to detect activity at the level of individual neurons.