The project, funded in part by the NIH BRAIN initiative, is a collaboration between the University of Southampton, the Francis Crick Institute and University College London. It will address the development of novel glass-metal composite electrodes for electrical recording and stimulation in the brain. The Southampton partner will supervise the development of glass-metal electrodes and the UCL/Francis Crick Institute partner will supervise their application to the biological recording environment.The Francis Crick Institute partner has developed a novel way of enabling large-scale recordings from neurons in the brain, relying on the combination of high-speed CMOS amplifier arrays and bundles of glass-ensheathed microwires. To enable high density at the same time as minimally invasive recordings, glass wire bundles need to be reduced in diameter through etching and thermal drawing and ordered to match the pitch of the CMOS array.
There are several challenges that need to be tackled, notably developing glass combinations with matching thermal but different chemical properties as well as devising thermal drawing conditions to allow for gradual thinning with continuous core conductivity. You will work closely with an established team, including technical support, doing research to improve glass quality and develop novel fibre drawing methods. There will be opportunities to spend time at partner institutions in London and possibly industrial partner laboratories resulting in a solid foundation for future career development after graduation.
This fully funded PhD position covers all fees and provides a tax free stipend of £18,000 per year.