High precision optoacoustic neural modulation
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Manipulation of brain circuits is a critical to understanding how brain controls behaviors under normal physiological conditions and how its dysfunction causes diseases. Ultrasound stimulation is an emerging neuromodulation modality that allows activation of neurons with acoustic waves. However, the piezo based transcranial ultrasound stimulation offers poor spatial resolution, which hinders the understanding of its mechanism as well as application in region specific activation in small animals. To address this limitation, we developed a series of neuromodulation techniques utilizing the photon to sound conversion capability offered by the optoacoustic effect. In chapter 2, we developed a fiber based optoacoustic converter th-at allows neural stimulation at submillimeter spatial precision both in vitro and in vivo. In chapter 3, the spatial resolution was further improved by tapered fiber optoacoustic emitter to achieve stimulation of single neurons and even subcellular structures in culture. In chapter 4, we developed photoacoustic nanoparticle based neural stimulation that allows direct activation of neurons through optoacoustic waves generated by nanoparticles bonded to the neuronal membrane. Finally, in chapter 5, in an effort to improve penetration depth, a split ring resonator based microwave neuromodulation was developed that allows wireless stimulation and inhibition of neurons with subwavelength spatial resolution. Together, these methods offer an enabling platform with opportunities to understand the mechanism of acoustic neural stimulation as well as potential for treatment of neurological diseases with high precision neuromodulation.