Multi-array silicon probes with integrated optical fibers: light-assisted perturbation and recording of local neural circuits in the behaving animal

Eur J Neurosci. 2010 Jun;31(12):2279-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2010.07250.x. Epub 2010 Jun 7.


Recordings of large neuronal ensembles and neural stimulation of high spatial and temporal precision are important requisites for studying the real-time dynamics of neural networks. Multiple-shank silicon probes enable large-scale monitoring of individual neurons. Optical stimulation of genetically targeted neurons expressing light-sensitive channels or other fast (milliseconds) actuators offers the means for controlled perturbation of local circuits. Here we describe a method to equip the shanks of silicon probes with micron-scale light guides for allowing the simultaneous use of the two approaches. We then show illustrative examples of how these compact hybrid electrodes can be used in probing local circuits in behaving rats and mice. A key advantage of these devices is the enhanced spatial precision of stimulation that is achieved by delivering light close to the recording sites of the probe. When paired with the expression of light-sensitive actuators within genetically specified neuronal populations, these devices allow the relatively straightforward and interpretable manipulation of network activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation* / instrumentation
  • Electric Stimulation* / methods
  • Electrophysiology* / instrumentation
  • Electrophysiology* / methods
  • Light*
  • Mice
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Optical Fibers*
  • Photic Stimulation* / instrumentation
  • Photic Stimulation* / methods
  • Rats
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Silicon / chemistry*


  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Silicon