Extracellular recordings in freely moving animals allow the monitoring of brain activity from populations of neurons at single-spike temporal resolution. While state-of-the-art electrophysiological recording devices have been developed in recent years (e.g., µLED and Neuropixels silicon probes), implantation methods for silicon probes in rats and mice have not advanced substantially for a decade. The surgery is complex, takes time to master, and involves handling expensive devices and valuable animal subjects. In addition, chronic silicon neural probes are practically single implant devices due to the current low success rate of probe recovery. To successfully recover silicon probes, improve upon the quality of electrophysiological recording, and make silicon probe recordings more accessible, we have designed a miniature, low cost, and recoverable microdrive system. The addition of a novel 3D-printed skull baseplate makes the surgery less invasive, faster, and simpler for both rats and mice. We provide detailed procedural instructions and print designs, allowing researchers to adapt and flexibly customize our designs to their experimental usage.

Mihály Vöröslakos, Hiroyuki Miyawaki, Sebastien Royer, Kamran Diba, Euisik Yoon, Peter C. Petersen* and György Buzsáki*. “3D-printed recoverable microdrive and base plate system for rodent electrophysiology”. *corresponding author, Bio-protocol, August 20, 2021. [pdf] [link] [website]