Diode probes for spatiotemporal optical control of multiple neurons in freely moving animals

J Neurophysiol. 2012 Jul;108(1):349-63. doi: 10.1152/jn.00153.2012. Epub 2012 Apr 11.


Neuronal control with high temporal precision is possible with optogenetics, yet currently available methods do not enable to control independently multiple locations in the brains of freely moving animals. Here, we describe a diode-probe system that allows real-time and location-specific control of neuronal activity at multiple sites. Manipulation of neuronal activity in arbitrary spatiotemporal patterns is achieved by means of an optoelectronic array, manufactured by attaching multiple diode-fiber assemblies to high-density silicon probes or wire tetrodes and implanted into the brains of animals that are expressing light-responsive opsins. Each diode can be controlled separately, allowing localized light stimulation of neuronal activators and silencers in any temporal configuration and concurrent recording of the stimulated neurons. Because the only connections to the animals are via a highly flexible wire cable, unimpeded behavior is allowed for circuit monitoring and multisite perturbations in the intact brain. The capacity of the system to generate unique neural activity patterns facilitates multisite manipulation of neural circuits in a closed-loop manner and opens the door to addressing novel questions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain Waves / physiology
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2 / genetics
  • Channelrhodopsins
  • Kinesins / genetics
  • Light
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Optics and Photonics* / instrumentation
  • Optics and Photonics* / methods
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Probability
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Rats, Transgenic
  • Reaction Time
  • Somatosensory Cortex / cytology*
  • Wakefulness / physiology*


  • Channelrhodopsins
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2
  • nephrocystin-3, mouse
  • Kinesins