We describe fabrication methods and the characterisation and use of extracellalar microelectrode arrays for the detection of action potentials from neurons in culture. The 100 μm2 platinised gold microelectrodes in the 64 electrode array detect the external current which flows during an action potential with S:N ratios of up to 500:1, giving a maximum recorded signal of several millivolts. The performance of these electrodes is enhanced if good sealing of the cells over the electrodes is obtained and further enhanced if the electrodes and the cells lie in a deep groove in the substratum. The electrodes can be used for both recording and stimulation of activity in cultured neurons and for recording from multiple sites on a single cell. The use of such electrodes to obtain recordings from invertebrate neurons is described. The particular advantages of these electrodes, their long term stability, non-invasive nature, high packing density, and utility in stimulation, are demonstrated.