The addition of graphene to neurostimulation devices is boosting their lifespan, making for improved outcomes for patients with neurological diseases.

Neurostimulation devices are implantable, programmable medical devices that deliver electrical stimulation to specific parts of a patient’s brain, spinal cord or nervous system. They are often used in treatment for neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and strokes.

However, one of the common elements in such devices is platinum micro-electrodes, which are prone to corrosion and can reduce the functionality and lifespan of the device.

But super material graphene might be the answer to such problems — researchers at Purdue University in Indiana are adding graphene monolayer to the devices to protect the micro-electrodes. The graphene monolayer has proven to be an effective diffusion barrier and electrical conductor.

“I know from my industry experience that the reliability of implantable devices is a critical issue for translating technology into clinics,” Hyowon Lee, assistant professor in Purdue’s College of Engineering, said.

“This is part of our research focusing on augmenting and improving implantable devices using nano and micro-scale technologies for more reliable and advanced treatments. We are the first ones that I know of to address the platinum corrosion issue in neurostimulation micro-electrodes.”

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