Synergistic combination of near-infrared irradiation and targeted gold nanoheaters for enhanced photothermal neural stimulation

Kyungsik Eom, Changkyun Im, Seoyoung Hwang, Seyoung Eom, Tae Seong Kim, Hae Sun Jeong, Kyung Hwan Kim, Kyung Min Byun, Sang Beom Jun, Sung June Kim

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Despite a potential of infrared neural stimulation (INS) for modulating neural activities, INS suffers from limited light confinement and bulk tissue heating. Here, a novel methodology for an advanced optical stimulation is proposed by combining near-infrared (NIR) stimulation with gold nanorods (GNRs) targeted to neuronal cell membrane. We confirmed experimentally that in vitro and in vivo neural activation is associated with a local heat generation based on NIR stimulation and GNRs. Compared with the case of NIR stimulation without an aid of GNRs, combination with celltargeted GNRs allows photothermal stimulation with faster neural response, lower delivered energy, higher stimulation efficiency and stronger behavior change. Since the suggested method can reduce a requisite radiant exposure level and alleviate a concern of tissue damage, it is expected to open up new possibilities for applications to optical neuromodulations for diverse excitable tissues and treatments of neurological disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1614-1625
Number of pages12
JournalBiomedical Optics Express
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 31


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

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