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Thomas Motorized Electrode Manipulator (MEM)™

10mm electrode travel
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Thomas Motorized Electrode Manipulator (MEM)™

10mm electrode travel

The Thomas Motorized Electrode Manipulator (MEM)™ is a small and lightweight low-cost microdrive system for extracellular recordings. This microdrive can be used with different conventional extracellular recording electrodes and preamplifier systems presently available on the market. The microdrive consists of a precision drive motor, a guide tube unit and a holder for mounting the microdrive to different stereotaxic setups like shown in the gallery.

Key features:

  • Low-cost precision microdrive system
  • High precision & quality “Made in GERMANY” by Thomas RECORDING
  • Axial resolution better than 1µm, x-y-Positioning with a grid.
  • Flexible electrode travel range by chassis extension
  • Short microdrive length for cortical recording applications
  • Variable speed range from 0…250µm/s, higher velocity on request
  • Custom-made solutions for each recording application
  • Modular number of drives mountable to the chamber holder
  • Networkable motor control unit (LAN communication via TCP/IP)
  • Special designed electrode holder prevents bending of electrodes at the top
Technical Data
chamber holder:9,7g
chamber clamp:18,6g
Other Data 
Electrode travel:10.000µm
Resolution:1µm in z-axis, x- and y-axis with a grid in primate recording chambers, or xy-manipulator in small animal stereotaxy
Electrodes:Standard electrodes for neurophysiology, not limited to Thomas electrodes (please feel free to ask for the electrodes that you plan to use!)
Preamplifier:Not part of delivery, but available on request
Multicontact Probes:TREC Multitrodes, Plexon U-, V-, S-Probes, Probes from other manufacturers
Motor Control:8 channel Microprocessor motor control unit
Remote Control:Wireless/wired handheld remote control (tablet, standard), wired handheld remote control (optional available)
Chamber Clamp:customized to the user’s recording chambers (e.g. Crist chambers)
Dimensionssee drawing below for standard MEM configuration


Primate setup (standard)

Qty.Article numberDescription
1AN000573MEM – 10mm
1AN000710Recording chamber holder with integrated depth scale (one per MEM required)
1AN001459Recording chamber clamp (customizable)
1AN000389Motor control unit (MCU-2) with  handheld remote control and external power supply
1AN000299Software license for a single MEM

Connection adapter to connect two MEM to one MCU-2 (optional)

1AN001257Connection adapter to connect three MEM to one MCU-2 (optional)

Small Animal Setup (standard)

Qty.Article numberDescription
1AN000573MEM – 10mm
1AN000596MEM adapter for stereotaxic instrument
1AN000389Motor control unit (MCU-2) with handheld remote control and external power supply
1AN000299Motor control software license
1AN001256Connection adapter to connect two MEM to one MCU-2 (optional)
1AN001257Connection adapter to connect three MEM to one MCU-2 (optional)

The MEM System is adapted to your special requirements (e.g. MEM holder is customized so that it fits to your stereotaxic instrument).

The Motorized Electrode Manipulator (MEM) is available with 10mm and 40mm electrode travel distance. This Microdrive was designed to move multicontact probes like the Thomas Multitrodes (8-, 16-channel) and the Plexon U-, V- and S-probes.

Fig.1: MEM with 10mm electrode travel (left) and MEM with 40mm electrode travel (right)

The MEM can also be adapted to drive silicon probes. Figure 3 shows the MEM with a special design.

Figure 2: Silicon Probe (Atlas Neuro) mounted to a Thomas MEM System

A special adapter to move Thomas Array Electrodes is also available for the MEM. Figure 3 shows how the array electrode is mounted to a 10mm MEM.

Fig. 3: MEM with silicon probe or array electrode holder A) Adapter for Multichannelsystems-Headstage, B) 10mm MEM with sledge and 16pin DIL socket probe/headstage holder, C) TREC 16 channel array electrode mounted to the 16pin DIL socket probe/headstage holder


Please do not hesitate to contact us for customization for of this drive so that it fits to your current recording application. Beside an adaptation of our MEM to your existing lab equipment we also offer complete solutions.

Fig. 4: MEM-10 and MEM-40 mounted to a circular primate recording chamber. The distance between the grid sand the primate dura is adjusted by spacer rings.

Figure 4 shows two MEM mounted to a primate recording chamber. The chamber is equipped with a grid for high reproducibility of the recording position in x- and y-direction. The special designed chamber holder is extremely lightweight (10g) and stable (stainless steel rod) and allows reaching different recording positions within the recording chamber. If required the distance between the grid and the primate dura can be adjusted with several spacer rings (optional available).

Fig. 5: MEM-10 mounted to a small animal stereotaxic instrument

Figure 5 demonstrates a possible use of the MEM in small animal recording applications. The MEM can be mounted to small animal stereotaxic instruments just by using a customized adapter.

Fig. 6: Dual probe MEM-40 mounted to a squared primate recording chamber. The MEM is equipped with a special designed joint holder for flexible guide tube positioning

Figure 6 shows a dual probe MEM with 40mm electrode travel distance mounted to a squared recording chamber. The MEM is equipped with a joint holder that allows to cover the complete chamber grid xy-area to place the guide tubes. This is an example for the customization of the MEM system. We can adapt our system to each research application. Please do not hesitate to contact us!

Fig. 7: Block diagram of the MEM System. The motor control hardware can control up to 8 MEM motors. The motors are controlled via personal computer software. A handheld remote control (table computer) is also part of the delivery.

A networkable microprocessor motor control unit is available for the MEM (see figure 7). This motor control unit communicates with the personal computer via local area network connection and TCP/IP protocol. The motor control hard- and software and a handheld remote control (tablet computer) are part of the MEM system delivery.

Customer Evaluation

„Our lab uses Plexon U-probes to record across the depth of surface cortex in alert, head-fixed animals. We had Thomas build a custom computer-control micro-drive and holder for the U-probe. Specifically, we wanted the holder to be small, have a single motorized driver, and attach to a Thomas micro-manipulator. Thomas customized a ‘MEM’ that could be controlled by the same motor-control box that controls movement of a Thomas Pencil Drive. The MEM works wonderfully to advance the U-probe and secures the probe in place very nicely. It is easy to load and convenient to attach to the rig on a daily basis. We store the probe inside the MEM so that loading only occurs occasionally. Cleaning and storage of the probe is easy with the aid of the base stand. Overall, we are extremely satisfied with the MEM for use with the U-probe.”

(Prof. Dr. Farran Briggs, Department of Physiology and Neurobiology, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth)


Questions? Please don’t hesitate contacting us!

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