A hybrid bioorganic interface for neuronal photoactivation

Nat Commun. 2011 Jan 25;2:166. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1164.


A key issue in the realization of retinal prosthetic devices is reliable transduction of information carried by light into specific patterns of electrical activity in visual information processing networks. Soft organic materials can be used to couple artificial sensors with neuronal tissues. Here, we interface a network of primary neurons with an organic blend. We show that primary neurons can be successfully grown onto the polymer layer without affecting the optoelectronic properties of the active material or the biological functionality of neuronal network. Moreover, action potentials can be triggered in a temporally reliable and spatially selective manner with short pulses of visible light. Our results may lead to new neuronal communication and photo manipulation techniques, thus paving way to the development of artificial retinas and other neuroprosthetic interfaces based on organic photodetectors.