WAVEGUIDE-BASED OPTRODES WITH INTEGRATED LASER DIODES FOR OPTOGENETIC INTERVENTION AND ELECTRICAL RECORDING
Relevant for Research Area
Dr. Patrick Ruther (Contact PI)
Optogenetics provides the unique opportunity to control neural activity by optical stimulation of specific types of neurons using light sensitive molecules expressed in the cell membrane. In WOLDOR we develop miniaturized, implantable tools, so-called optrodes, comprising integrated light sources (laser diodes (LD), light-emitting diodes (LED)), passive optical components (waveguides, lenses), and electrodes used for the optical interference with brain tissue and electrical recording of neural activity. The devices are based on silicon and polymer substrates used for intracortical and epicortical in vivo applications. We establish new process technologies for hermetically sealed micro-packages for LD and LED chips, and supplement our technical developments by an intense characterization of waveguide materials in view of their long-term stability in biological environments. Our highly miniaturized optrodes will be validated in in vivo applications with freely behaving animals.
Optical and thermal characterization of dual-color, LD-based optrodes (up to 40 mm long) with Ormorcer waveguides for intracortical applications, development and validation of innovative design concepts and fabrication methods for chronic implants comprising integrated LED and LD chips as well as humidity sensors, packaged in glass- and silicon-based micro-housings, in vitro studies demonstrating the superior properties of waveguides for long-term stable applications of several months.