20. Can One Concurrently Record Electrical Spikes from Every Neuron in a Mammalian Brain?

David Kleinfeld, Lan Luan, Partha P. Mitra, Jacob T. Robinson, Rahul Sarpeshkar, Kenneth Shepard, Chong Xie, Timothy D. Harris

Neuron 103, 1 (2019)

The classic approach to measure the spiking response of neurons involves the use of metal electrodes to record extracellular potentials. Starting over 60 years ago with a single recording site, this technology now extends to ever larger numbers and densities of sites. We argue, based on the mechanical and electrical properties of existing materials, estimates of signal-to-noise ratios, assumptions regarding extracellular space in the brain, and estimates of heat generation by the electronic interface, that it should be possible to fabricate rigid electrodes to concurrently record from essentially every neuron in the cortical mantle. This will involve fabrication with existing yet nontraditional materials and procedures. We further emphasize the need to advance materials for improved flexible electrodes as an essential advance to record from neurons in brainstem and spinal cord in moving animals.