Type: Electrophysiology / Probes,

Keywords: Next-generation electrode, Silicon digital neural probe, Neural recording device

Neuropixels high channel count electrophysiology probes

Neuropixels are high-density, integrated probes for extracellular electrophysiology, available from

* Neuropixels is the first fully-integrated silicon CMOS digital neural probe that combines best-in-class performance with unrivalled cost-effectiveness and reliability for next-generation in vivo neuroscience research in small animals
* Neuropixels probes are next-generation electrodes that record the activity of hundreds of neurons in the brain
* Devices for recording neural signals in the brains of experimental animals, usually rodents, but also in some cases primates
* Small micromachine silicon devices that are tens of micrometers wide, 20µm thick and 10mm long. *Inserted into the brain and covered with sensors to measure the electrical signals generated by neurons
* Allowed to obtain electrophysiological measurements across a large spatial extent with an unprecedented level of detail
* A CMOS based integrated microsystems platform for neuroscience and brain-computer interfaces
* Constitute a self-contained recording system: the data that emerge are already digital, and can be read by a simple, inexpensive interface to a standard computer
* Data-acquisition system: A scalable platform for parallel recording of 10 000+ electrophysiological signals
* Integrated circuitry for amplification, multiplexing and digitization
* The 1-cm recording length—comparable to the size of the rodent brain—enables recording from multiple brain regions simultaneously at neuronal scale and with high temporal resolution
* Represent a significant advance in measurement technology and will allow for the most precise understanding yet of how large networks of nerve cells coordinate to give rise to behavior and cognition
* Large (10 mm), dense (100 sites/mm) implantable neural recording device
* With each probe, scientists see hundreds of well resolved single neuron signal traces
* Research underway to develop further versions of the probes: four-shank probes with a smaller base (ideal for chronic recordings), and optrodes that combine recording with optical stimulation (for optogenetic experiments)
* Open-source platform for multichannel electrophysiology experiments
* Widely used application for multichannel electrophysiology that leverages a plugin-based workflow
* Plugin-based application for data acquisition, processing, and visualization
* Cross-platform software for acquiring data from implanted electrodes
* Processes data from extracellular electrodes
* Works automatically with the Open Ephys acquisition board
* Channel count limited only by computer processing speed
* Define your own signal chain, or load a standard configuration to get up and running immediately
* Spike extraction and visualization for Single electrodes, stereotrodes, and tetrodes

* In the rodent brain, the 1 cm shank of the Neuropixels probe distributes 1,000 sites across multiple brain regions. These sites record from hundreds of neurons distributed across brain regions

* Two Neuropixels probes can record simultaneously from over 500 neurons in 5 regions of the mouse brain
* Tested chronic implants of Neuropixels probes and obtained large scale single-neuron recordings in both freely moving rats and head-fixed mice
* Simultaneously monitoring the inputs and outputs of diverse regions (for example, by recording populations in thalamus simultaneously with a target cortical area), as well as assessing the relationship of behaviour to activity distributed across the brain
* Researchers have recorded from more than 700 neurons using two Neuropixels probes

* Mice, Rats, Primates, Birds, Reptiles

* Constitute a step advance in recording technology
* Dense and numerous recording sites, so that gives you redundancy to resolve the data better and simply makes more data faster in an electrophysiology experiment
* Increases the quantity of the data
* Extremely low noise levels
* Allow superior discrimination of the spikes of individual neurons
* Fully integrated functionality and small size allowed large populations of neurons from several brain structures to be recorded in freely moving animals
* Light weight
* Small footprint and integrated electronics
* Have a small physical footprint and minimal cabling, important for studying unrestrained behaviours, and require only a simple interface board to acquire data
* The new probes are about as long as a mouse brain—so they pass through and collect data from many different brain regions at the same time
* Easier for researchers to pinpoint the cellular sources of brain activity
* New probes incorporates a nearly complete recording system – reducing hardware size, cost and eliminating hundreds of output wires
* Yielded high neuron count and excellent signal-to-noise performance with no special techniques required.
* Can record simultaneously across multiple brain regions

* Probes are delicate and must be handled carefully.
* Care must be taken to stabilize the brain during recording
* High center of gravity when implanted on a freely moving mouse (will be addressed with Neuropixels 2.0)

* A host PC is needed with: • Windows 7/8.1/10. • Dedicated solid state drive for data streaming. • At least one PCIe slot (Gen 2 x8 or wider) to install the PXIe remote controller
* To install the Neuropixels PXIe acquisition module you need to download the following PXIe Acquisition Module driver files from the SpikeGLX GitHub site. A separate version is available for Windows 7 and Windows 10.• EnPcieDriverWin.inf • EnPcieDriverWin.sys • WdfCoInstaller01009.dll • • readme.txt
* The support for windows 7 versions will die out starting January 2020

* Jun et al. 2017, Fully integrated silicon probes for high-density recording of neural activity, Nature 551: 232–236


Timothy Harris (Senior Fellow)


imec, HHMI Janelia Research Campus, University College London, Allen Institute



Barun Dutta (imec)
Christof Koch (Allen Institute)
John O'Keefe (UCL)
many, many more



Neuropixels Consortium (HHMI, Allen Institute, Wellcome Trust, Gatsby Foundation)