Wirelessly powered, fully internal optogenetics for brain, spinal and peripheral circuits in mice

Nat Methods. 2015 Oct;12(10):969-74. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.3536. Epub 2015 Aug 17.


To enable sophisticated optogenetic manipulation of neural circuits throughout the nervous system with limited disruption of animal behavior, light-delivery systems beyond fiber optic tethering and large, head-mounted wireless receivers are desirable. We report the development of an easy-to-construct, implantable wireless optogenetic device. Our smallest version (20 mg, 10 mm(3)) is two orders of magnitude smaller than previously reported wireless optogenetic systems, allowing the entire device to be implanted subcutaneously. With a radio-frequency (RF) power source and controller, this implant produces sufficient light power for optogenetic stimulation with minimal tissue heating (<1 °C). We show how three adaptations of the implant allow for untethered optogenetic control throughout the nervous system (brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerve endings) of behaving mice. This technology opens the door for optogenetic experiments in which animals are able to behave naturally with optogenetic manipulation of both central and peripheral targets.

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

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Implants, Experimental*
  • Light
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Miniaturization / instrumentation
  • Miniaturization / methods
  • Motor Cortex / physiology
  • Nociceptors / physiology
  • Optogenetics / instrumentation*
  • Optogenetics / methods
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiology
  • Spinal Cord / physiology*
  • Temperature
  • Wireless Technology* / instrumentation