Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Shining Light On The Brain's Activity

Date:
April 25, 2008
Source:
Optical Society of America
Summary:
The microscopic structure of the human brain is almost incomprehensibly complicated, composed of trillions of interconnections between tens of billions of neurons. Understanding this circuitry, the aim of modern neuroscience, is a laudable goal for fundamental as well as neurological health care reasons. Exploring the brain's microcircuitry has traditionally been done by lining up tiny electrodes within or near single neurons to probe their electrical activity.

The microscopic structure of the human brain is almost incomprehensibly complicated, composed of trillions of interconnections between tens of billions of neurons. Understanding this circuitry, the aim of modern neuroscience, is a laudable goal for fundamental as well as neurological health care reasons.

Exploring the brain's microcircuitry has traditionally been done by lining up tiny electrodes within or near single neurons to probe their electrical activity. Though well established, this method is invasive and often noisy because of background electrical activity in the brain. A number of alternative approaches use optical probes that can detect neuronal activity with light, but these methods often require labeling neural cells with electrically-sensitive dyes that may be toxic to neurons.

Now Jiayi Zhang, Tolga Atay, and Arto Nurmikko at Brown University have created a new type of dye-free optical probe that can directly sense naturally occurring neural activity. They have imbedded gold nanoparticles into tissue culture and shown that they can measure the electrical activity of live neurons. The technique takes advantage of a phenomenon known as surface plasmon polariton resonance, a sharp spectroscopic resonance at visible/near-infrared wavelengths. Basically, the gold nanoparticles are used to optically sense the local electric fields produced when nearby neurons fire. The neuronal activity modulates the electron density at the surface of the nanoparticle, which causes an observable spectral shift that the researchers can monitor.

This study "Detection of Neural Cell Activity Using Plasmonic Gold Nanoparticles" was presented at the 2008 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics/Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference (CLEO/QELS) May 4-9 at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Optical Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Optical Society of America. "Shining Light On The Brain's Activity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080422155735.htm>.
Optical Society of America. (2008, April 25). Shining Light On The Brain's Activity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080422155735.htm
Optical Society of America. "Shining Light On The Brain's Activity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080422155735.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) The urban 4x4 is the latest must-have for Chinese drivers, whose conversion to the cult of the SUV is the talking point of this year's Beijing auto show. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) The light-field photography engineers at Lytro unveiled their next innovation: a professional DSLR-like camera called "Illum." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3 Reasons Why Harley Davidson Is Selling Tons of Epic Hogs

3 Reasons Why Harley Davidson Is Selling Tons of Epic Hogs

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) Sales of motorcycles have continued to ride back from the depths of hell known as the Great Recession. Excluding scooters, sales of motorcycles increased 3% in 2013. In units, however, at 465,000 sold last year, the total remained about 50% below the peak hit in 2007. Industry leader Harley Davidson’s shareholders have benefited both by the industry recovery and positive headlines emanating from the company. Belus Capital Advisors CEO Brian Sozzi takes you beyond the headlines of the motorcycle maker. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins