Linear micro-actuation system for patch-clamp recording

Ilya Kolb, Gregory L. Holst, Max A. Stockslager, Suhasa B. Kodandaramaiah, William Stoy, Edward S. Boyden, Craig R. Forest

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Measuring the electrical activity of neurons is essential for understanding how they encode and transmit information in the brain. Using a technique known as patch-clamping, the electrical activity of single neurons can be reliably recorded by pressing a small glass pipette filled with electrically conductive and pneumatically controlled solution against the neuron's membrane. This requires accurate and repeatable mechanical control of pipette position, typically necessitating a bulky actuation system and thus making it difficult to position several pipettes around a tissue specimen to record from multiple neurons at once. We have developed a linear micro-actuation system for patch-clamping that exhibits high positional accuracy (< 150 μm on-axis error over full travel), high repeatability (on-axis σ = 33 μm for full travel; σ = 0.71 μm for 15 μm travel) and low drift (0.61 μm/hour). The system was designed and fabricated to patch-clamp onto neurons in a mouse brain slice. The miniaturized device presented here makes it possible to position up to 21 actuators around a 5 × 5 mm tissue sample and eventually record intracellularly from a large number of neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - ASPE 2014 Annual Meeting
PublisherAmerican Society for Precision Engineering, ASPE
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781887706667
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Event29th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Precision Engineering, ASPE 2014 - Boston, United States
Duration: Nov 9 2014Nov 14 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings - ASPE 2014 Annual Meeting


Other29th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Precision Engineering, ASPE 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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