Acta Biomaterialia, Volume 10, Issue 10, October 2014, Pages 4548–4558.
Nanostructured iridium oxide–carbon nanotube hybrids (IrOx–CNT) deposited as thin films by dynamic electrochemical methods are suggested as novel materials for neural electrodes. Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) serve as scaffolds for growing the oxide, yielding a tridimensional structure with improved physical, chemical and electrical properties, in addition to high biocompatibility. In biological environments, SWCNT encapsulation by IrOx makes more resistant electrodes and prevents the nanotube release to the media, preventing cellular toxicity. Chemical, electrochemical, structural and surface characterization of the hybrids has been accomplished. The high performance of the material in electrochemical measurements and the significant increase in cathodal charge storage capacity obtained for the hybrid in comparison with bare IrOx represent a significant advance in electric field application in biosystems, while its cyclability is also an order of magnitude greater than pure IrOx. Moreover, experiments using in vitro neuronal cultures suggest high biocompatibility for IrOx–CNT coatings and full functionality of neurons, validating this material for use in neural electrodes.