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Master of Science in Engineering
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Robotics, biosensors, bioelectronics, brain computer interfaces, two-dimensional materials, neurology, implants, neuroelectronics
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Daryl Hurwitz

In the evolving field of neuroelectronics implants, several significant challenges persist. The rigidity of traditional devices often lead to substantial tissue damage and immune reactions, highlighting the urgent need for flexible, biomimetic designs that integrate more harmoniously with neural tissues, thereby enhancing biocompatibility and long-term stability. Most commercial neural implants are not customizable and feature a limited number of electrodes, which constrains the scope of neural data that can be captured. This limitation calls for the development of scalable technologies that can achieve higher spatial resolutions. Efficient wireless power and data transfer technologies are also essential to support fully implantable, untethered neural interfaces. Current implants generally lack the ability to incorporate multiple recording and stimulation modalities, restricting their application in diverse scientific studies. The development of multimodal interfaces could address this limitation, enabling more detailed studies of neural structure and function. This thesis explores the innovative use of MXene, specifically the two-dimensional nanomaterial TI3C2Tx, in conjunction with polydopamine (PDA) to develop customizable microelectrode arrays (MEAs) that can be rapidly fabricated for use in surgical settings. MXenes are selected for their exceptional conductivity, flexibility, and biocompatibility-qualities essential for effective neural interfaces. The addition of PDA enhances these interfaces’ mechanical and environmental stability while maintaining their excellent electrical properties. This research presents a novel method for the quick production of MEAs that can be adapted to individual surgical requirements potentially a day prior to or on the day of surgery, ultimately facilitating precise electrode placement for optimized neural recording and stimulation. By addressing the significant challenges of existing bioelectronic interfaces—such as the need for stable, safe, and functional integration with soft biological tissues—this thesis demonstrates a scalable approach to fabricate devices that combine the unique optical, electronic, and biocompatible properties of carbon-based nanomaterials. The outcomes of this work are expected to contribute significantly to the fields of neurology and bioelectronics by providing a robust platform for the advanced study of brain function across various spatial and temporal scales. This could lead to improved understanding and management of neurological conditions, thereby aligning with the broader goals of advancing neuroscientific research and clinical neurology.

Vitale, Flavia
Michelle, Johnson
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