Optogenetics opened not only new exciting opportunities to interrogate the nervous system but also requires adequate probes to facilitate these wishes. Therefore, a multidisciplinary effort is essential to match these technical opportunities with biological needs in order to establish a stable and functional material-tissue interface. This in turn can address an optical intervention of the genetically modified, light sensitive cells in the nervous system and recording of electrical signals from single cells and neuronal networks that result in behavioral changes. In this review, we present the state of the art of optoelectronic probes and assess advantages and challenges of the different design approaches. At first, we discuss mechanisms and processes at the material-tissue interface that influence the performance of optoelectronic probes in acute and chronic implantations. We classify optoelectronic probes by their property of delivering light to the tissue: by waveguides or by integrated light sources at the sites of intervention. Both approaches are discussed with respect to size, spatial resolution, opportunity to integrate electrodes for electrical recording and potential interactions with the target tissue. At last, we assess translational aspects of the state of the art. Long-term stability of probes and the opportunity to integrate them into fully implantable, wireless systems are a prerequisite for chronic applications and a transfer from fundamental neuroscientific studies into treatment options for diseases and clinical trials.
The article is published in Current Opinion in Neurobiology - themed issue on Neurotechnologies and is offered as free download until March 28, 2018.
L Rudmann, MT Alt, D Ashouri Vajari, T Stieglitz, Integrated optoelectronic microprobes, Current Opinion in Neurobiology, Volume 50, June 2018, Pages 72-82, ISSN 0959-4388, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conb.2018.01.010. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959438817302295)