Link to DOI – 10.1109/TMTT.2021.3136296
IEEE Trans Microw Theory Tech Volume: 70, Issue: 3, March 2022
Studying the response of neuronal networks to radio frequency (RF) signals requires the use of a specific device capable of accessing and simultaneously recording neuronal activity during electromagnetic fields (EMF) exposure. In this study, a microelectrode array (MEA) that records the spontaneous activity of neurons is coupled to an open transverse electromagnetic (TEM) cell that propagates EMF. We characterize this system both numerically and experimentally at 1.8 GHz. Two MEA versions were compared, for the first time, to determine the impact of their design dissimilarities on the response to EMF. Macroscopic and microscopic measurements using, respectively, a fiber-optic probe and a temperature-dependent fluorescent dye (Rhodamine-B) were carried out. Results indicate that one MEA shows more stability toward the changes of the surrounding environment compared to the other MEA. Using a fiber-optic thermometer, the measured specific absorption rate (SAR) probe value in the center of the more stable MEA was 5.5 ± 2.3 W/kg. Using a Rhod-B microdosimetry technique, the measured SAR value at the level of the MEA electrodes was 7.0 ± 1.04 W/kg. SAR values are normalized per 1 W incident power. Due to the additional metallic planes and a smaller chip aperture, this new recording chip is steadier in terms of SAR and temperature stability allowing high exposure homogeneity as required during biological experiments. A typical neuronal activity recording under EMF exposure is reported.