Depth-specific optogenetic control in vivo with a scalable, high density µLED neural probe

Scharf, Robert and Tsunematsu, Tomomi and McAlinden, Niall and Dawson, Martin D. and Sakata, Shuzo and Mathieson, Keith (2016) Depth-specific optogenetic control in vivo with a scalable, high density µLED neural probe. Scientific Reports, 6. 28381. ISSN 2045-2322 (

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Controlling neural circuits is a powerful approach to uncover a causal link between neural activity and behaviour. Optogenetics has been widely adopted by the neuroscience community as it offers cell-type-specific perturbation with millisecond precision. However, these studies require light delivery in complex patterns with cellular-scale resolution, while covering a large volume of tissue at depth in vivo. Here we describe a novel high-density silicon-based microscale light-emitting diode (µLED) array, consisting of up to ninety-six 25 µm-diameter µLEDs emitting at a wavelength of 450 nm with a peak irradiance of 400 mW/mm2. A width of 100 µm, tapering to a 1 µm point, and a 40 µm thickness help minimise tissue damage during insertion. Thermal properties permit a set of optogenetic operating regimes, with ~0.5°C average temperature increase. We demonstrate depth-dependent activation of mouse neocortical neurons in vivo, offering an inexpensive novel tool for the precise manipulation of neural activity.


Scharf, Robert, Tsunematsu, Tomomi, McAlinden, Niall ORCID logoORCID:, Dawson, Martin D. ORCID logoORCID:, Sakata, Shuzo ORCID logoORCID: and Mathieson, Keith ORCID logoORCID:;