In this course, students will work in several different laboratories to complete their projects. The tetrode array and microdrive assembly will happen in an electronics laboratory. The animal behavior and brain activity recording will take place in a behavioral laboratory. Below are step-by-step instructions for the construction and use of the tetrode array and microdrive assembly that will be used for recording hippocampal activity.

Lab Materials

The lab materials are step-by-step instructions on how to manufacture a tetrode array and microdrive assembly.

Modifications to Drive Construction Handout (PDF)
Sleep Box Construction (PDF)
Useful Tools (PDF)
Tetrode Making (PDF)
Animal Training (PDF)
Head Stage Construction (PDF)
Tetrode Burning (PDF)

First Week Task List

Team organization

  • Assemble teams
  • Choose team leader (gives weekly status reports)
  • Begin lab notebook
  • Organize and check team tool kits (see attached inventory list)

Assign initial jobs/responsibilities

  • Preparation
  • Select and prepare workspace
  • Set up workspace: arrange tools, work vise, lamp, etc.
  • Make useful tools (see attached sheet)
  • Mark out lengths for drive parts on work area paper.
  • Drive part fabrication

Start making raw drive parts, from simplest (5.5 and 6 mil wire) to more complex (in order of attached drive part making notes). Assembly of pieces together will come afterwards.

Animal Socialization

Spend some time with each animal individually – 10-15 minutes at least. Hold, pet, talk soothingly, allow them to explore, but not escape or feel endangered or threatened. Remember to wear a lab coat!

Toolkit Inventory List

Each team should have a toolkit consisting of the following items:

  1. Tool Box (black)
  2. Drive Parts Box (clear)
  3. Pana-Vise for holding drive as it is being built and loaded
  4. Scribe
  5. Exacto-Knife
  6. Large Pliers
  7. Fine Pliers
  8. Super Glue (2)
  9. 1 ml Syringes (3)
  10. 26 Gauge Needles (3)
  11. Fine Scissors
  12. Diagonal Cutters
  13. Tetrode Tweezers
  14. 0-80 Screws (100)
  15. 0-80 Screw Taps (2)
  16. Tap Handle
  17. Tetrode Box
  18. Tetrode Stripper (burner)

Notes on Drive Part Manufacturing

  • 5.5 mil and 6 mil wire - cut with diagonal cutters in one, swift cut. Discard if kinked.
  • sharpen both ends on dremel with carbide cutting or grinding wheel
  • 30 gauge - cut with carbide cutting wheel
  • sharpen both ends
  • clear ends with 27 gauge needle if necessary
  • ream with 5.5 mil with hooked end (3 times)
  • stuff with 6 mil to load
  • 23 gauge - cut with carbide wheel
  • sharpen one end, score up other with edge of carbide cutting wheel
  • ream with 30 gauge, leave empty
  • 19 gauge - cut with carbide wheel
  • clean, then score both ends with edge of cutting wheel
  • ream with 23 gauge, leave empty
  • polyimide - cut with fine scissors
  • shrink wrap - cut with exacto blade, holding finger over small piece
  • screws - send through 0-80 die to clean/deepen threads
  • half moon tops with thick grinding wheel only after top and bottom pieces have been assembled. Half mooning flattens out the screw tops slightly, and will strip the threads in the delrin if the half moon portion is screwed through it.

It's a good idea to make a few tools as well, like a 1 mil syringe handle with a long (>10 cm) piece of 23# on the end, cut at a 45-degree angle and sharpened; comes in very handy reaming out top piece holes, acrylic around 30# pieces, etc.