Improved selectivity from a wavelength addressable device for wireless stimulation of neural tissue

Elif Ç Seymour, David S. Freedman, Mutlu Gökkavas, Ekmel Özbay, Mesut Sahin, M. Selim Ünlü

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Electrical neural stimulation with micro electrodes is a promising technique for restoring lost functions in the central nervous system as a result of injury or disease. One of the problems related to current neural stimulators is the tissue response due to the connecting wires and the presence of a rigid electrode inside soft neural tissue. We have developed a novel, optically activated, microscale photovoltaic neurostimulator based on a custom layered compound semiconductor heterostructure that is both wireless and has a comparatively small volume (<0.01 mm3). Optical activation provides a wireless means of energy transfer to the neurostimulator, eliminating wires and the associated complications. This neurostimulator was shown to evoke action potentials and a functional motor response in the rat spinal cord. In this work, we extend our design to include wavelength selectivity and thus allowing independent activation of devices. As a proof of concept, we fabricated two different microscale devices with different spectral responsivities in the near-infrared region. We assessed the improved addressability of individual devices via wavelength selectivity as compared to spatial selectivity alone through on-bench optical measurements of the devices in combination with an in vivo light intensity profile in the rat cortex obtained in a previous study. We show that wavelength selectivity improves the individual addressability of the floating stimulators, thus increasing the number of devices that can be implanted in close proximity to each other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5
JournalFrontiers in Neuroengineering
Issue numberFEB
StatePublished - Feb 18 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering


  • Addressable stimulators
  • Floating micro electrodes
  • Neural prostheses
  • Optical neural stimulation
  • Optically powered
  • Wireless


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