Interfacing Electrogenic Cells with 3D Nanoelectrodes: Position, Shape, and Size Matter

ACS Nano, 2014, 8 (7), pp 6713–6723 DOI: 10.1021/nn500393p
Francesca Santoro, Sabyasachi Dasgupta, Jan Schnitker, Thorsten Auth, Elmar Neumann, Gregory Panaitov, Gerhard Gompper, and Andreas Offenhaeusser
An in-depth understanding of the interface between cells and nanostructures is one of the key challenges for coupling electrically excitable cells and electronic devices. Recently, various 3D nanostructures have been introduced to stimulate and record electrical signals emanating from inside of the cell. Even though such approaches are highly sensitive and scalable, it remains an open question how cells couple to 3D structures, in particular how the engulfment-like processes of nanostructures work. Here, we present a profound study of the cell interface with two widely used nanostructure types, cylindrical pillars with and without a cap. While basic functionality was shown for these approaches before, a systematic investigation linking experimental data with membrane properties was not presented so far. The combination of electron microscopy investigations with a theoretical membrane deformation model allows us to predict the optimal shape and dimensions of 3D nanostructures for cell-chip coupling.