Understanding how sensory space maps to neural activity in the olfactory system requires efficiently and flexibly delivering numerous odorants within single experimental preparations. Such delivery is difficult with current olfactometer designs, which typically include limited numbers of stimulus channels and are subject to intertrial and interchannel contamination of odorants. Here, we present a novel olfactometer design that is easily constructed, modular, and capable of delivering an unlimited number of odorants in air with temporal precision and no detectable intertrial or interchannel contamination. The olfactometer further allows for the flexible generation of odorant mixtures and flexible timing of odorant sequences. Odorant delivery from the olfactometer is turbulent but reliable from trial to trial, supporting operant conditioning of mice in an odorant discrimination task and permitting odorants and concentrations to be mapped to neural activity with a level of precision equivalent to that obtained with a flow dilution olfactometer. This novel design thus provides several unique advantages for interrogating olfactory perception and for mapping sensory space to neural activity in the olfactory system.
Keywords: calcium imaging; olfaction; olfactory bulb; operant conditioning; plume.
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