CNT Implantat

Project Image:
Title of the project:
CNT Implantat
Nanotubes for Neurotechnology
Project leader:
Dr. Claus J. Burkhardt
Project funding:
  • Baden-Württemberg Stiftung
Project management:
  • VDI Technologiezentrum GmbH
Funding reference number:

The production of neuroimplants with microelectrodes, which are equally suitable for long-term reliable measurement and stimulation of nerve cell activity, has so far not been satisfactorily successful. A new solution for neurotechnology is being pursued in the CNT Implant joint project: the development of carbon nanotube electrodes (CNT: carbon nanotube) on flexible polymer substrates.


Active microelectrode implants have been developed for diagnosis, therapy, rehabilitation and monitoring of disorders of the central nervous system, e.g. epilepsy or stroke, and some of them are already in use. Of diagnostic and therapeutic relevance is not only the detection of brain activity and electrical stimulation of cerebral structures, but also the detection of biochemical quantities ("brain chemistry"). From a clinical point of view a permanent implantation of the microelectrodes is desirable.
However, the production of a microelectrode implant with electrodes suitable for all purposes that have the required long-term stability is a problem that has not yet been satisfactorily solved. A new solution approach is being pursued in the joint project CNT Implant: the development of carbon nanotube electrodes (carbon nanotube, CNT for short: carbon nanotube) on flexible polymer substrates.
Due to its biocompatibility and chemical inertness, carbon is ideally suited for biomedical long-term applications and CNTs are a promising alternative to conventional metal electrodes.
The research project aims at the tailor-made synthesis of CNTs with directed growth. Special attention is paid to process development for synthesis at low temperatures due to the temperature sensitivity of the polyimide substrates. In the routine processes of CNT synthesis, deposition temperatures above 600°C are common. In the CNT implant project, deposition temperatures < of 350°C are achieved.

Project partners:
  • Fraunhofer-Institut für Werkstoffmechanik (IWM), Freiburg
  • Institut für Angewandte Physik der Universität Tübingen (IAP)
  • Neurologische Klinik der Universität Tübingen