Recently developed ultrasmall, fully implantable devices for optogenetic neuromodulation eliminate the physical tethers associated with conventional set-ups and avoid the bulky head-stages and batteries found in alternative wireless technologies. The resulting systems allow behavioural studies without motion constraints and enable experiments in a range of environments and contexts, such as social interactions. However, these devices are purely passive in their electronic design, thereby precluding any form of active control or programmability; independent operation of multiple devices, or of multiple active components in a single device, is, in particular, impossible. Here we report optoelectronic systems that, through developments in integrated circuit and antenna design, provide low-power operation, and position- and angle-independent wireless power harvesting, with full user-programmability over individual devices and collections of them. Furthermore, these integrated platforms have sizes and weights that are not significantly larger than those of previous, passive systems. Our results qualitatively expand options in output stabilization, intensity control and multimodal operation, with broad potential applications in neuroscience research and, in particular, the precise dissection of neural circuit function during unconstrained behavioural studies.

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The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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We acknowledge support from the Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics at Northwestern University. C.R.H. is supported by Cancer Center Support Grant P30 CA060553 from the National Cancer Institute awarded to the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center. Z.X. acknowledges support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 11402134). Y.H. acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation (grant numbers 1400169, 1534120 and 1635443).

Author information


  1. Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics at the Simpson Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA

    • Philipp Gutruf
    • , Chun-Ju Su
    • , Siddharth R. Krishnan
    •  & Tyler Ray
  2. Department of Biomedical Engineering, Bioscience Research Laboratories, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA

    • Philipp Gutruf
  3. Functional Material and Microsystems Research Group and Micro Nano Research Facility, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

    • Vaishnavi Krishnamurthi
  4. CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA

    • Abraham Vázquez-Guardado
    •  & Debashis Chanda
  5. NanoScience Technology Center, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA

    • Abraham Vázquez-Guardado
    •  & Debashis Chanda
  6. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA

    • Zhaoqian Xie
    •  & Yonggang Huang
  7. Department of Materials Science and Engineering Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

    • Anthony Banks
  8. Key Laboratory of C&PC Structures of the Ministry of Education, Southeast University, Nanjing, China

    • Yeshou Xu
  9. Center for Advanced Molecular Imaging, Radiology, and Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA

    • Chad R. Haney
  10. Center for Advanced Molecular Imaging, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA

    • Emily A. Waters
  11. Developmental Therapeutics Core, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA

    • Irawati Kandela
  12. Department of Biomedical Engineering McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA

    • John P. Leshock
  13. Departments of Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Neurological Surgery, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Simpson Querrey Institute & Feinberg Medical School, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA

    • John A. Rogers


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P.G., A.V.-G., Z.X. and J.A.R. designed research. P.G., V.K., A.V-G., Z.X., A.B., C.-J.S., Y.X., C.R.H., E.A.W., I.K., S.R.K, T.R. and J.P.L. performed research. P.G., A.V.-G., Z.X., C.R.H., E.A.W., I.K., Y.H., D.C. and J.A.R. analysed data. P.G. and J.A.R. wrote the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to John A. Rogers.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Figures 1–14

  2. Reporting Summary

  3. Supplementary Video 1

    Demonstration of output intensity modulation. The program increases intensity from OFF to full intensity and terminates with an indicator flash.

  4. Supplementary Video 2

    Demonstration of output modulation using one-way communication. Remotely selected programs include: State 1, sequential blinking of all four LEDs; State 2, alternate blinking of left and right shank; State 3, blinking of LED1; State 4, blinking of LED2; State 5, blinking of LED3; State 6, blinking of LED4 and subsequent reset to State 1.

  5. Supplementary Video 3

    Demonstration of individual control over device functionality of multiple devices in one experimental environment.

  6. Supplementary Video 4

    Freely moving mouse with constant-intensity device implanted and active.

  7. Supplementary Video 5

    Bilateral optogenetic implant operating inside a 7 tesla small animal MRI​.

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