Multielectrode Array

Multi-electrode array (MEA) systems are readily used for electrophysiological studies to understand electrically active cells such as neural networks and cardiac syncytiums.  

Multielectrode arrays captures the field potential or activity across an entire population of cells, with far greater data points per well, detecting activity patterns that would otherwise elude traditional assays such as patch clamp electrophysiology which probes a single cell such as a neuron.  

MEA systems are the perfect solution to high-throughput in vitro electrophysiology.

Have questions about how to use MEA in your studies


What is multi-electrode array?
How does multi-electrode array work?
Multi-electrode array electrophysiology
Neural electrophysiology on multi-electrode arrays
Cardiac electrophysiology on multi-electrode arrays
Multi-electrode array systems
Frequently asked questions about multi-electrode array systems

multielectrode array MEA plate



What is multi-electrode array?

A multi-electrode array is a grid of tightly spaced microscopic electrodes embedded in the bottom of each well in a multi-well MEA plate.  Cells, such as cardiomyocytes or neurons, which are electrically active, can be cultured over the electrodes creating a cohesive network.  The functional behavior or electrical activity of this network can be recorded.  These action potentials are recorded extracellularly and are known as field potentials.

Some examples of MEA applications:

  • Record spontaneous activity from hiPSC-derived neuronal cells upon differentiation and maturity
  • Cell cultures for disease modeling such as epilepsy
  • Drug screening or neurotoxicology studies
  • Functional maturity of cardiomyoctyes
Watch the full video and discover if an MEA assay is right for your research.


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How does multi-electrode array work?


multiwell multielectrode array system cell culture steps


Electrically active cells such as neurons or cardiomyocytes will produce an extra-cellular field potential that can be recorded.  Axion’s multielectrode array (MEA) plates have a grid of tightly spaced electrodes embedded in the culture surface of each well (Figure A). Electrically active cells, such as neurons or cardiomyocytes, can be cultured over the electrodes (Figure B). Over time, as the cultures become established, they form cohesive networks and present an electrophysiological profile (Figure C). The resulting electrical activity, spontaneous or induced firing of neurons, or the uniform beat of cardiomyocytes, is captured from each electrode on a microsecond timescale providing both temporally and spatially precise data.




Multi-electrode array electrophysiology

The study of electrically active cells has been historically complex, hindering our advancements in human biology and treating diseases. Multi-electrode array electrophysiology of electrically active cells such as neurons or cardiomyocytes can shed light on many diseases and drug interactions.  

Neural network electrophysiology on MEAs is well suited for neural studies.  The multielectrode arrays easily record from your network of cells non-invasively, label-free and in real-time.  

Subtle changes in cardiomyoctye excitability, contractility, or both is vital to understanding disorders of the human heart.  An MEA system allows you to capture these changes label-free and in real-time.


Neural electrophysiology multielectrode array


Neural electrophysiology on multi-electrode arrays

Using Maestro multi-electrode array (MEA) technology, any scientist can quickly and easily measure neural network behavior.  Applications include, but are not limited to:

  • neural characterization and development
  • neural co-cultures
  • neural optical and electrical stimulation
  • neural organoids/mini-brains
  • neurological diseases such as alzheimers or epilepsy
  • neuromuscular junctions
  • neurotoxicity and safety
  • pain


cardiac electrophysiology on multielectrode array


Cardiac electrophysiology on multi-electrode arrays

When cardiomyocytes are cultured on top of an MEA, they attach and connect to form a spontaneously beating sheet of cells, called a syncytium. When one cardiomyocyte fires an action potential, the electrical activity propagates across the syncytium causing each cell to fire and then contract. The electrodes detect each individual action potential and contraction, as well as the propagation of this activity across the array.  The propagating electrical signal is detected by the electrodes as an extracellular field potential

Applications include, but are not limited to:

  • cardiac classification of action potential waveforms
  • cardiac differentiation and maturation
  • cardiomyocyte pacing can be controlled using optical or electrical stimulation
  • evaluation of cardiotoxicity and proarrhythic compounds
  • cardiomyoctye inotropy and excitation-contraction coupling



Multi-electrode array systems

Axion offers two multielectrode array systems: Maestro Pro and Maestro Edge as well as a selection of multiwell MEA plates.


multielectrode array systems Maestro Pro and edge


Maestro Pro MEA system

The Maestro Pro multielectrode array system is our most advanced offering, designed for the workload of larger labs.  Record from our 6-, 24-, 48-, and 96-well MEA plates.


Maestro Edge MEA system

Maestro Edge multielectrode array system is our most budget-friendly offering, designed for labs with lower throughput needs.  Record from our 6- and 24-well MEA plates.

Multielectrode Array Plates

  • CytoView MEA – The premium Maestro multiwell MEA plate with a transparent well bottom for cell visualization and assay multiplexing. The 24-, and 6-well plate formats are compatible with the Maestro Edge and Maestro Pro.
  • BioCircuit MEA – Maestro MEA plates with an opaque well bottom delivering high-quality results at the lowest cost per well. The 24-well plate format is compatible with the Maestro Edge and Maestro Pro.
  • Lumos MEA – Maestro MEA plates designed for use with the Lumos system, featuring a transparent well bottom and light-focusing lid for optical stimulation. The 24-well plate format is compatible with the Maestro Edge and Maestro Pro.


Help me select the MEA system that is right for my studies


Frequently asked questions about multi-electrode array?


What is the difference between in vitro multi-electrode array and patch clamp?

MEAs record the field potential electrical activity from the extracellular space from a population of electrically active cells such as neurons.  Patch clamp electrophysiology records the action potentials from the intracellular space of the neuron.

What are the benefits to using multi-electrode array in my studies?

MEAs are high throughput in vitro systems that record from multiple electrodes simultaneously.  This can be performed non-invasively, label-free and in real time from cells or organoids.  The cells are plated just as they would be in any other multiwell plate.



Related Resource


multielectrode array neural organoids video

Bioengineered Neuronal Organoid activity mimics the fetal brain

What you will learn in this 11 minute webinar:
  • Dr. Zafeiriou’s lab have generated Bioengineered Neuronal Organoids (BENOs) from hiPSCs, which consist of excitatory and inhibitory neurons as well as myelinating and non-myelinating glia.

  • After 40 days in culture, when the GABA neurons become inhibitory, BENOs develop complex network activity and exhibit plasticity.

  • The Maestro Pro multiwell MEA system provides an effective platform for continuously monitoring neural network formation in neural organoids.



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