Scalable ultrasmall three-dimensional nanowire transistor probes for intracellular recording

Yunlong Zhao, Siheng Sean You, Anqi Zhang, Jae Hyun Lee, Jinlin Huang, Charles M. Lieber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


New tools for intracellular electrophysiology that push the limits of spatiotemporal resolution while reducing invasiveness could provide a deeper understanding of electrogenic cells and their networks in tissues, and push progress towards human–machine interfaces. Although significant advances have been made in developing nanodevices for intracellular probes, current approaches exhibit a trade-off between device scalability and recording amplitude. We address this challenge by combining deterministic shape-controlled nanowire transfer with spatially defined semiconductor-to-metal transformation to realize scalable nanowire field-effect transistor probe arrays with controllable tip geometry and sensor size, which enable recording of up to 100 mV intracellular action potentials from primary neurons. Systematic studies on neurons and cardiomyocytes show that controlling device curvature and sensor size is critical for achieving high-amplitude intracellular recordings. In addition, this device design allows for multiplexed recording from single cells and cell networks and could enable future investigations of dynamics in the brain and other tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-790
Number of pages8
JournalNature Nanotechnology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
C.M.L. acknowledges support from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (FA9550-14-1-0136). S.S.Y. acknowledges an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. This work was performed in part at the Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS) of Harvard University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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