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X-Optogenetics and U-Optogenetics: Feasibility and Possibilities

The Department of Biomedical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Rachel Berry and Matthew Getzin contributed equally to this work.
Photonics 2015, 2(1), 23-39;
Received: 22 November 2014 / Accepted: 30 December 2014 / Published: 7 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomedical Optics and Optical Imaging)
PDF [860 KB, uploaded 13 January 2015]


Optogenetics is an established technique that uses visible light to modulate membrane voltage in neural cells. Although optogenetics allows researchers to study parts of the brain like never before, it is limited because it is invasive, and visible light cannot travel very deeply into tissue. This paper proposes two new techniques that remedy these challenges. The first is x-optogenetics, which uses visible light-emitting nanophosphors stimulated by focused x-rays. X-rays can penetrate much more deeply than infrared light and allow for nerve cell stimulation in any part of the brain. The second is u-optogenetics, which is an application of sonoluminescence to optogenetics. Such a technique uses ultrasound waves instead of x-rays to induce light emission, so there would be no introduction of radiation. However, the tradeoff is that the penetration depth of ultrasound is less than that of x-ray. The key issues affecting feasibility are laid out for further investigation into both x-optogenetics and u-optogenetics. View Full-Text
Keywords: Optogenetics; x-rays; ultrasound; nanophosphors; penetration depth Optogenetics; x-rays; ultrasound; nanophosphors; penetration depth

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Berry, R.; Getzin, M.; Gjesteby, L.; Wang, G. X-Optogenetics and U-Optogenetics: Feasibility and Possibilities. Photonics 2015, 2, 23-39.

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