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Micro Linear Drive

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Laboratory Tools
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Micro Linear Drive

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Independently Position Microelectrodes In a Behaving Animal

In vivo electrophysiology recordings from single to multiple neurons in behaving animals provide unique insights into neuroscience research. Microdrives, which are used to position microelectrodes in a behaving animal independently, are essential tools for this line of research. An ideal micro-drive system would be small, light, and stable and would enable several electrodes to be positioned in a compact area to target small groups of cells.

The technology described here meets those requirements. This new microdrive allows for adjustable single and multi-cell recordings. Each microdrive weighs 0.8 grams with a standard electrode mount and 0.92 grams with a silicon probe holder; both methods are suitable for an untethered animal. This microdrive is currently being used with tetrodes, silicon probes, and single-electrode configurations.

The drive can be easily disassembled with acetone and reassembled with a simple adhesive, enabling the researcher to interchange different electrode holding shuttles or replace worn components. The drive requires less than 4mm of surface for implant mounting. The linear drive allows exceptional holding stability at a given recording location. The precise actuation mechanisms allow the user to advance electrode arrays tens of microns per day with a long throw that allows several millimeters (around 4.5 mm) of total movement.

This microdrive regularly obtained stable, high signal-to-noise ratio recordings for several months from freely behaving mice in use at Janelia Research Campus.


  • Microdrive that weighs under 1 gram
  • Permits free animal behavior with both single and multi-cell recording
  • Inexpensive and reusable
  • An interchangeable electrode shuttle system


  • Free-behaving rodent, bird, and amphibian research studies
  • Chronic electrode array recordings from the brain of behaving mice

Created by:

Rinberg Lab


  • Available for sale at Ronal Tool.
  • Free to make for Non-Profit Research by downloading designs at Flintbox link at right.
  • Rights and designs available for Commercial License.

For inquiries, please reference:

Janelia 2013-035

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Reusable, stable, small & light.
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Michael Perham
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