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 July 22, 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 July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

AP (July 18, 2014) The Obama administration approved the use of sonic cannons to discover deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through waters shared by endangered whales and turtles. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Newsy (July 18, 2014) The wreckage of the German submarine U-166 has become clearly visible for the first time since it was discovered in 2001. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Reuters - US Online Video (July 17, 2014) President Barak Obama stopped by at a lunch counter in Delaware before making remarks about boosting the nation's infrastructure. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

TheStreet (July 16, 2014) Oil Futures are bouncing back after tumbling below $100 a barrel for the first time since May yesterday. Jeff Grossman is the president of BRG Brokerage and trades at the NYMEX. Grossman tells TheStreet the Middle East is always a concern for oil traders. Oil prices were pushed down in recent weeks on Libya increasing its production. Supply disruptions in Iraq fading also contributed to prices falling. News from China's economic front showing a growth for the second quarter also calmed fears on its slowdown. Jeff Grossman talks to TheStreet's Susannah Lee on this and more on the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. 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