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Fully implantable optoelectronic systems for battery-free, multimodal operation in neuroscience research


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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Fig. 1: Digitally controlled multimodal optogenetic implants.
Fig. 2: Electronic and optical characterization.
Fig. 3: Advanced multimodal operation.
Fig. 4: Implantation and operational capabilities.
Fig. 5: MRI and CT imaging results of the bilateral multi µ-ILED device.

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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).

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Authors and Affiliations



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.

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Correspondence to John A. Rogers.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figures 1–14

Reporting Summary

Supplementary Video 1

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

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.

Supplementary Video 3

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

Supplementary Video 4

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

Supplementary Video 5

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

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Gutruf, P., Krishnamurthi, V., Vázquez-Guardado, A. et al. Fully implantable optoelectronic systems for battery-free, multimodal operation in neuroscience research. Nat Electron 1, 652–660 (2018).

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