Wireless optoelectronic photometers for monitoring neuronal dynamics in the deep brain

Luyao Lu, Philipp Gutruf, Li Xia, Dionnet L. Bhatti, Xinying Wang, Abraham Vazquez-Guardado, Xin Ning, Xinru Shen, Tian Sang, Rongxue Ma, Grace Pakeltis, Gabriel Sobczak, Hao Zhang, Dong oh Seo, Mantian Xue, Lan Yin, Debashis Chanda, Xing Sheng, Michael R. Bruchas, John A. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


Capabilities for recording neural activity in behaving mammals have greatly expanded our understanding of brain function. Some of the most sophisticated approaches use light delivered by an implanted fiber-optic cable to optically excite genetically encoded calcium indicators and to record the resulting changes in fluorescence. Physical constraints induced by the cables and the bulk, size, and weight of the associated fixtures complicate studies on natural behaviors, including social interactions and movements in environments that include obstacles, housings, and other complex features. Here, we introduce a wireless, injectable fluorescence photometer that integrates a miniaturized light source and a photodetector on a flexible, needle-shaped polymer support, suitable for injection into the deep brain at sites of interest. The ultrathin geometry and compliant mechanics of these probes allow minimally invasive implantation and stable chronic operation. In vivo studies in freely moving animals demonstrate that this technology allows high-fidelity recording of calcium fluorescence in the deep brain, with measurement characteristics that match or exceed those associated with fiber photometry systems. The resulting capabilities in optical recordings of neuronal dynamics in untethered, freely moving animals have potential for widespread applications in neuroscience research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1374-E1383
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 13 2018


  • Neuroscience
  • Optogenetics
  • Photometry


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