A groundbreaking development in the field of neurosurgery has emerged with the creation of a new device based on gallium nitride grown on Qromis’s QST substrate. This innovative device is designed to provide neurosurgeons with critical intraoperative data, ultimately leading to improved decision-making during surgical procedures. The device combines an electrode grid with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to demonstrate and monitor brain activity in real time, enhancing the safety and precision of surgeries aimed at removing brain defects such as tumors and epileptic tissue.

Engineers and healthcare professionals from Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of California, San Diego, collaborated to design and construct this device. Led by Shadi Dayeh, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UC San Diego and the corresponding author of the study, the group's findings appear in the April edition of the Science Translational Medicine Journal.

The newly developed microdisplay addresses the challenge of intraoperative brain mapping in neurosurgery. Current techniques, often involving separate teams and equipment, restrict the real-time visualization of functional brain areas. This often results in the reliance on large resection margins, which may lead to the sacrifice of healthy tissue and compromise patient outcomes. The microdisplay offers enhanced precision, detailed functional mapping, and advanced epilepsy management, bringing significant potential benefits in various brain surgeries.

The innovative microdisplay holds promise for improving patient outcomes in brain surgeries. Its technical advancements, particularly the incorporation of GaN LEDs and PtNRGrid technology, signify a substantial leap in medical technology. By providing a clearer picture of the brain’s function, the microdisplay has the potential to lead to more successful surgeries and improve the quality of life for patients.

The microdisplay developed by Dayeh and his team is a result of pioneering work using GaN to create high-efficiency LEDs that remain cool and safe for brain tissue. By growing this material on a flat Qromis substrate, the team was able to embed LEDs into flexible films for a bendable display panel. This combination of innovations offers significant benefits in medical technology. The microdisplays, as thin as tens of microns, capture brain activity at high speeds across numerous channels and visualize it in real time during surgeries. The device, containing up to 2,048 LEDs, includes acquisition electronics and software for analyzing brain activity directly from its surface.

Ongoing research aims to further enhance the microdisplay’s capabilities, such as developing higher-resolution displays, exploring foldable designs, and addressing potential electrical interference between LEDs and recording electrodes. The flexible microdisplay represents a revolutionary tool for brain surgery, with the potential to significantly improve surgical precision and patient outcomes. Further research and development hold promise for even greater advancements in this transformative technology.