Graphene Flagship researchers develop a sensor that records brain activity at extremely low frequencies and could lead to new treatments for epilepsy. (Credit: Graphene Flagship)

A newly developed graphene-based implant can record electrical activity in the brain at extremely low frequencies and over large areas, unlocking the wealth of information found below 0.1 Hz. The study just describes how the technology will pave the way for the next generation of brain-computer interfaces.

The new device moves away from electrodes and uses an innovative transistor-based architecture that amplifies the brain's signals in situ before transmitting them to a receiver. The use of graphene to build this new architecture means the resulting implant can support many more recording sites than a standard electrode array. It is slim and flexible enough to be used over large areas of the cortex without being rejected or interfering with normal brain function. The result is an unprecedented mapping of the low frequency brain activity known to carry crucial information about different events, such as the onset and progression of epileptic seizures and strokes.

For neurologists this means they finally have access to some clues that our brains only whisper. This groundbreaking technology could change the way we record and view electrical activity from the brain. Future applications will give unprecedented insights into where and how seizures begin and end, enabling new approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy.