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IBEC Seminar: Wieteke de Boer
Tuesday, April 26, 2016 @ 4:00 pm–5:00 pm
Optical activation of neurons through low power two-photon IR excitation of gold nanoparticlesWieteke de Boer, Departments of Biological Sciences and Neuroscience, Columbia University
Selective optical stimulation of specific classes of excitable cells is a major goal in neurobiology. Here we propose the approach of indirect photostimulation through gold nanoparticles (Au NPs), which are conjugated to the neuronal membrane. Au NPs are frequently used in biological research due to their versatile applicability: they have a broad optical tunability, large absorption cross sections, can be made chemically stable and biocompatible, and most importantly they are non-invasive and non-toxic even up to excessively large quantities. We show that these NPs can facilitate reliable optical stimulation of neurons through the plasmonic effect using IR two-photon (2P) excitation, with extremely low excitation powers. The NPs can be easily tethered to any targeted tissue and are known to be excreted without inducing any permanent damage. Using this approach, Au NPs are an attractive alternative to genetic modification techniques (such as channelrhodopsins) as it circumvents potential issues often seen in those methods, e.g. poor signal-to-noise ratio, photo-instability, photo-toxicity and expression efficiency.