This paper reports on the design, in vitro and in vivo investigation of a flexible, lightweight, polyimide based implantable sieve electrode with a hybrid assembly of multiplexers and polymer encapsulation. The integration of multiplexers enables us to connect a large number of electrodes on the sieve using few input connections. The implant assembly of the sieve electrode with the electronic circuitry was verified by impedance measurement. The 27 platinum electrodes of the sieve were coated with platinum black to reduce the electrode impedance. The impedance magnitude of the electrode sites on the sieve (geometric surface area 2200 μm2) was |Zf≤1kHz| ≤ 5.7 kΩ. The sieve electrodes, encased in silicone, have been implanted in the transected sciatic nerve of rats. Initial experiments showed that axons regenerated through the holes of the sieve and reinnervated distal target organs. Nerve signals were recorded in preliminary tests after 3-7 months post-implantation. © 2006 IOP Publishing Ltd.