New Scale Technologies’ new Alignment Fixture can be used to align a Neuropixels 1.0 probe in the holder. – Photo courtesy Ahmet Arac, UCLA –
Due to manufacturing variations in the circuit boards of the Neuropixels probes, researchers often need to add shims between the circuit board and probe holder to achieve proper alignment. New Scale’s new probe Alignment Fixture has been demonstrated to be an excellent tool for alignment of both Neuropixels 1.0 and 2.0 probes in their respective probe mounts.
This article describes how to align a Neuropixels 1.0 probe in New Scale’s MPM-Probe Mount-1AS probe holder using the new Alignment Fixture. (For information on Neuropixels 2.0 probes refer to this related article.)
Install and Align Neuropixels 1.0 Probes in the MPM-Probe Mount-1AS
1. Remove the base of the probe holder
Use a screwdriver to loosen the two screws in the MPM-Probe Mount-1AS base. Remove the probe holder from the base.
2. Insert the probe holder in the Alignment Fixture
Loosen the thumbscrew of the Alignment Fixture. Slide the probe holder into the v-groove. With the probe holder in the orientation shown, tighten the thumbscrew.
3. Open the clamp
Use a screwdriver to loosen the screw in the probe holder. Open the probe clamp.
4. Identify the guide features
The probe clamp has a raised edge and a post to aid in probe installation.
5. Install the probe in the holder
Place the slot of the probe flex cable over the post on the probe holder. Place the edge of the probe’s PCB flush against the raised edge.
6. Close the probe clamp
Close the probe clamp and tighten the screw.
7. Check probe alignment
Check the alignment of the probe shank under a microscope, using the reference lines in the Alignment Fixture. The probe holder can be rotated 360° in the Alignment Fixture. Only the two orientations shown below are needed to check for proper alignment.
8. Adjust alignment, using shims if needed
If needed, loosen the probe clamp screw and use shimming material (for example, Kapton Tape ~24 micron thick) between the probe PCB and the Probe Holder to adjust alignment. Re-tighten the probe clamp’s screw and check again.
Photo courtesy Ahmet Arac, UCLA
Multi-Probe Micromanipulator System
The Alignment Fixture and MPM-Probe Mount 1AS are designed for use with New Scale Technologies’ Multi-Probe Micromanipulator (MPM) system for precise, automated positioning of multiple silicon neural probes.
The compact design enables independent positioning of multiple probes in the smallest space, with ample clear area for a virtual task environment. Automatically and independently move each probe to the optimum location in the brain.