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Analysis of Light Propagation on Physiological Properties of Neurons for Nanoscale Optogenetics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-117
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Miniaturization of implantable devices is an important challenge for future brain-computer interface applications, and in particular for achieving precise neuron stimulation. For stimulation that utilizes light, i.e., optogenetics, the light propagation behavior and interaction at the nanoscale with elements within the neuron is an important factor that needs to be considered when designing the device. This paper analyzes the effect of light behavior for a single neuron stimulation and focuses on the impact from different cell shapes. Based on the Mie scattering theory, the paper analyzes how the shape of the soma and the nucleus contributes to the focusing effect resulting in an intensity increase, which ensures that neurons can assist in transferring light through the tissue toward the target cells. At the same time, this intensity increase can in turn also stimulate neighboring cells leading to interference within the neural circuits. This paper also analyzes the ideal placements of the device with respect to the angle and position within the cortex that can enable axonal biophoton communications, which can contain light within the cell to avoid the interference.


  • biological tissues, bio-optics, brain, cellular biophysics, light propagation, Mie scattering, neurophysiology, prosthetics, physiological properties, nanoscale optogenetics, implantable devices, future brain-computer interface applications, precise neuron stimulation, light propagation behavior, light behavior, single neuron stimulation, Mie scattering theory, focusing effect, intensity increase, target cells, cell shapes, miniaturization, Neurons, Shape, Biological tissues, Brain modeling, Nanoscale devices, Nano communications, optogenetics, geometrical optics analysis

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