Optimizing growth and post treatment of diamond for high capacitance neural interfaces

Wei Tong, Kate Fox, Akram Zamani, Ann M. Turnley, Kumaravelu Ganesan, Arman Ahnood, Rosemary Cicione, Hamish Meffin, Steven Prawer, Alastair Stacey, David J. Garrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Electrochemical and biological properties are two crucial criteria in the selection of the materials to be used as electrodes for neural interfaces. For neural stimulation, materials are required to exhibit high capacitance and to form intimate contact with neurons for eliciting effective neural responses at acceptably low voltages. Here we report on a new high capacitance material fabricated using nitrogen included ultrananocrystalline diamond (N-UNCD). After exposure to oxygen plasma for 3 h, the activated N-UNCD exhibited extremely high electrochemical capacitance greater than 1 mF/cm2, which originates from the special hybrid sp2/sp3 structure of N-UNCD. The in vitro biocompatibility of the activated N-UNCD was then assessed using rat cortical neurons and surface roughness was found to be critical for healthy neuron growth, with best results observed on surfaces with a roughness of approximately 20 nm. Therefore, by using oxygen plasma activated N-UNCD with appropriate surface roughness, and considering the chemical and mechanical stability of diamond, the fabricated neural interfaces are expected to exhibit high efficacy, long-term stability and a healthy neuron/electrode interface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-42
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Electrochemical capacitance
  • Neuron growth
  • Nitrogen included ultrananocrystalline diamond
  • Oxygen plasma
  • Retinal implant

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