One of the fundamental challenges in behavioral neurophysiology in awake animals is the steady recording of action potentials of many single neurons for as long as possible. Here, we present single neuron data obtained during acute recordings mainly from premotor cortices of three macaque monkeys using a silicon-based linear multielectrode array. The most important aspect of these probes, compared with similar models commercially available, is that, once inserted into the brain using a dedicated insertion device providing an intermediate probe fixation by means of vacuum, they can be released and left floating in the brain. On the basis of our data, these features appear to provide (i) optimal physiological conditions for extracellular recordings, (ii) good or even excellent signal-to-noise ratio depending on the recorded brain area and cortical layer, and (iii) extreme stability of the signal over relatively long periods. The quality of the recorded signal did not change significantly after several penetrations into the same restricted cortical sector, suggesting limited tissue damage due to probe insertion. These results indicate that these probes offer several advantages for acute neurophysiological experiments in awake monkeys, and suggest the possibility to employ them for semichronic or even chronic studies.
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