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Bioelectronic direct current stimulation at the transition between reversible and irreversible charge injection
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  • Lukas Matter ,
  • Sebastian Shaner ,
  • Jose Andres Leal Ordonez ,
  • Maria Asplund ,
  • Oliya S. Abdullaeva
Lukas Matter
Chalmers University of Technology, Chalmers University of Technology

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Sebastian Shaner
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Jose Andres Leal Ordonez
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Maria Asplund
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Oliya S. Abdullaeva
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Many biological processes rely on endogenous electric fields (EFs), including tissue regeneration, cell development, wound healing and cancer metastasis. Mimicking these biological EFs by applying external direct current stimulation (DCS) is therefore the key to many new therapeutic strategies. During DCS, the charge transfer from electrode to tissue relies on a combination of reversible and irreversible electrochemical processes, which may generate toxic or bio-altering substances, including metal ions and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythophene) (PEDOT) based electrodes are emerging as suitable candidates for DCS to improve the biocompatibility compared to metals. This work addresses whether PEDOT electrodes can be tailored to favor reversible biocompatible charge injection. To this end, different PEDOT formulations and their respective back electrodes are studied using cyclic voltammetry, chronopotentiometry, and direct measurements of H2O2 and O2. This combination of electrochemical methods sheds light on the time dynamics of reversible and irreversible charge transfer and the relationship between capacitance and ROS generation. The results presented here show that although all electrode materials investigated generate ROS, the onset of ROS can be delayed by increasing the electrode’s capacitance, which has implications for future bioelectronic devices that allow longer reversibly driven pulse durations during DCS.