We offer a variety of different tip alternatives for those that prefer a specialized electrode profile for their research. The tip selection can provide subtle yet important changes to the performance of the electrode, as described below. It is recommended that first time users consider experimenting with different tip profiles to determine which works best for their recording or stimulation protocols.
Our standard tip profile features a sharp yet robust point that offers versatile performance and an effective balance between penetration and durability. The most widely used tip profile, we recommend our standard tip for most neural recording applications, though it is also effective for most stimulation protocols. We employ an arc exposure method that provides precise and consistent performance as well as a very wide range of available impedances. While this method results in a small variability in impedance from electrode to electrode, most researchers find it very acceptable for their application. For those that need a more exact tip exposure, we offer a laser exposure service for a small premium. Please contact us if you feel this service is right for you.
Our blunted electrodes are engineered to have a more rounded, bullet-shaped tip. For many applications the blunted tip can offer superior stimulation performance, as its shorter profile can lead to the electrode acting more as a point source and providing improved isolation. Many investigators feel that this profile both provides greater selectivity than the conventional sharper tip profiles and is more appropriate for higher-intensity stimulation protocols. Some investigators have also reported observations that the use of blunted tips leads to fewer occurrences of punctured cells.
Our extra-fine tip profile features a significantly sharper taper as well as a thinner insulation layer. This type of electrode is commonly used for shallow preparations where it is necessary to record from small tightly-packed cell populations, such as the striate layers of the visual and auditory cortices. Due to the very delicate nature of these tips, they are only available in tungsten electrodes, in 3-inch (76mm) length and both 0.003" and 0.005" (75 and 125 micron) shaft diameter. For penetrations greater than 4 mm in which the tip impedance is greater than 1.5 MΩ, we recommend that an additional layer of polyimide tubing be specified to reduce capacitive shunting and to increase the stiffness of the electrode.
Our heat-treated electrodes are intended for those investigators who must penetrate their probes through tough membranes, such as the dura mater of larger mammals. By applying a heat source near the electrode tip under a microscope, we have the ability to provide an electrode with a more gradual tapering tip than our standard profile, while also toughening the polymer insulation near the tip. These modifications allow the electrode to be pushed through tough membranes easier and with less risk of tip and insulation damage.