Biological olfactory systems are highly sensitive and selective, often outperforming engineered chemical sensors in highly complex and dynamic environments. As a result, there is much interest in using biological systems to build sensors. However, approaches to read-out information from biological systems, especially neural signals, tend to be suboptimal due to the number of electrodes that can be used and where these can be placed. Here we aim to overcome this suboptimality in neural information read-out by using a nano-enabled neuromodulation strategy to augment insect olfaction-based chemical sensors. By harnessing the photothermal properties of nanostructures and releasing a select neuromodulator on demand, we show that the odour-evoked response from the interrogated regions of the insect olfactory system can not only be enhanced but can also improve odour identification.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Nanotechnology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


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