Neuropixels Probes for Large-Scale Electrophysiology

We have developed a new kind of probe for recording the electrical activity of neurons across the brain, "Neuropixels", which marks a step change in the kind of data available to neuroscientists (Jun*, Steinmetz*, et al., Nature, 2017). These probes were conceived, designed, and developed by an international collaboration led by Tim Harris, and with engineering at IMEC. They comprise a major advance on previous technologies, increasing the number of signals that can be simultaneously recorded by an order of magnitude. Moreover, they allow our measurements to go from local populations of neurons in one brain region, to global populations of neurons across many regions. This technology therefore promises a paradigm shift in the kinds of questions that can be addressed about circuits of neurons across the brain.

I am the Program Coordinator for an ongoing project funded by the Wellcome Trust, in which we are developing new versions of these probes. These will include miniaturized, multi-shank probes, wireless probes, and probes equipped with light-producing capabilities for deep optogenetic manipulations and opto-tagging.

We have shared some datasets recorded with Neuropixels probes at, and code for performing many basic analyses free and open source on github. We also maintain a wiki and user forum for discussions of practical details at For more advanced instruction, we offer a training course on the use of Neuropixels probes.

Left, schematic of Neuropixels probe and image of tip. Right, spiking data recorded from eight probes (over 3000 channels) simultaneously.