Microfluidic Neurons, a New Way in Neuromorphic Engineering?

Abstract : This article describes a new way to explore neuromorphic engineering, the biomimetic artificial neuron using microfluidic techniques. This new device could replace silicon neurons and solve the issues of biocompatibility and power consumption. The biological neuron transmits electrical signals based on ion flow through their plasma membrane. Action potentials are propagated along axons and represent the fundamental electrical signals by which information are transmitted from one place to another in the nervous system. Based on this physiological behavior, we propose a microfluidic structure composed of chambers representing the intra and extracellular environments, connected by channels actuated by Quake valves. These channels are equipped with selective ion permeable membranes to mimic the exchange of chemical species found in the biological neuron. A thick polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) membrane is used to create the Quake valve membrane. Integrated electrodes are used to measure the potential difference between the intracellular and extracellular environments: the membrane potential.
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Timothée Levi, Teruo Fujii. Microfluidic Neurons, a New Way in Neuromorphic Engineering?. Micromachines, MDPI, 2016, ⟨10.3390/mi7080146⟩. ⟨hal-01562685⟩

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