Heart-on-chip monitoring of cardiomyocyte electrical activity

Commonly used acronym: Microelectrode arrays

Scope of the method

The Method relates to
  • Animal health
  • Human health
The Method is situated in
  • Basic Research
  • Translational - Applied Research
Type of method
  • In vitro - Ex vivo
This method makes use of
  • Human derived cells / tissues / organs
Specify the type of cells/tissues/organs
Human induced pluripotent stem cells derived cardiomyocytes


Method keywords
  • action potentials
  • local field potentials
  • heart-on-chip
  • induced pluripotent stem cells
  • cardiac toxicity
  • drug testing
  • in vitro
Scientific area keywords
  • cardiac toxicity
  • organ-on-chip
  • drug screening
  • in vitro cell culture
Method description

This method is used to monitor cardiac cell cultures in vitro. It can be used for monitoring both cell activity and drug-induced cardiac side-effects for primary cardiomyocytes or hIPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. Unlike conventional microelectrode array systems that only measure the local field potentials around cardiac cells, the imec-developed microelectrode array monitors the extracellular electrical activity, intracellular (open-cell) action potentials, and impedance of cells cultured directly on the chip. Furthermore, this method offers high throughput recordings of cells: the CMOS-based chip contains 16384 recording electrodes, wherein 1024 channels can simultaneously record multimodal cell electrophysiology on single-cell level. This multimodal MEA may open up new opportunities in high-throughput cell-based pharmacological screening as well as fundamental studies of cells.

Lab equipment

Imec-developed microelectrode array chips and read-out setup.

Method status
  • Published in peer reviewed journal

Pros, cons & Future potential


High quality electrical recordings (intracellular action potential recordings) High spatio-temporal resolution Single-cell recordings 16,384 recording electrodes Pacing Multimodal Structured chip surfaces.

  • Custom-made tools ;
  • Large volume of data ;
  • Complex chip fabrication.
  • Software upgrades for user-friendliness ongoing ;
  • Hardware improvements.
Future & Other applications
  • Brain-on-chip ;
  • Cancer-on-chip ;
  • Gut-on-chip ...

Contact person

Thomas Pauwelyn


Interuniversitair Micro-Electronica Centrum (IMEC)
Life Science Technologies
Flemish Region