If successful, the idea could have huge implications for the treatment of Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders. Last month, a team of researchers from Italy and the UK made a huge step forward by showing that the world's favorite wonder-material, graphene, can successfully interface with neurons.
Previous efforts by other groups using treated graphene had created an interface with a very low signal to noise ratio. But an interdisciplinary collaborative effort by the University of Trieste and the Cambridge Graphene Centre has developed a significantly improved electrode by working with untreated graphene.
"For the first time we interfaced graphene to neurons directly," said Professor Laura Ballerini of the University of Trieste in Italy. "We then tested the ability of neurons to generate electrical signals known to represent brain activities, and found that the neurons retained their neuronal signaling properties unaltered. This is the first functional study of neuronal synaptic activity using uncoated graphene based materials."