Much innovation is currently aimed at improving the number, density, and geometry of electrodes on extracellular multielectrode arrays for in vivo recording of neural activity in the mammalian brain. To choose a multielectrode array configuration for a given neuroscience purpose, or to reveal design principles of future multielectrode arrays, it would be useful to have a systematic way of evaluating the spike recording capability of such arrays. We here describe an automated system that performs robotic patch clamp recording of a neuron being simultaneously recorded via an extracellular multielectrode array. By recording a patch clamp dataset from a neuron while acquiring extracellular recordings from the same neuron, we can evaluate how well the extracellular multielectrode array captures the spiking information from that neuron. To demonstrate the utility of our system, we show that it can provide data from the mammalian cortex to evaluate how the spike sorting performance of a close-packed extracellular multielectrode array is affected by bursting, which alters the shape and amplitude of spikes in a train. We also introduce an algorithmic framework to help evaluate how the number of electrodes in a multielectrode array affects spike sorting, examining how adding more electrodes yields data that can be spike sorted more easily. Our automated methodology may thus help with the evaluation of new electrode designs and configurations, providing empirical guidance on the kinds of electrodes that will be optimal for different brain regions, cell types, and species, for improving the accuracy of spike sorting.
Resources associated with this Publication:
[Ground truth for electrode array design: robotic technology to colocalize patch clamp and close packed electrode array recordings]