High-speed low-light in vivo two-photon voltage imaging of large neuronal populations

Nat Methods. 2023 Jul;20(7):1095-1103. doi: 10.1038/s41592-023-01820-3. Epub 2023 Mar 27.


Monitoring spiking activity across large neuronal populations at behaviorally relevant timescales is critical for understanding neural circuit function. Unlike calcium imaging, voltage imaging requires kilohertz sampling rates that reduce fluorescence detection to near shot-noise levels. High-photon flux excitation can overcome photon-limited shot noise, but photobleaching and photodamage restrict the number and duration of simultaneously imaged neurons. We investigated an alternative approach aimed at low two-photon flux, which is voltage imaging below the shot-noise limit. This framework involved developing positive-going voltage indicators with improved spike detection (SpikeyGi and SpikeyGi2); a two-photon microscope ('SMURF') for kilohertz frame rate imaging across a 0.4 mm × 0.4 mm field of view; and a self-supervised denoising algorithm (DeepVID) for inferring fluorescence from shot-noise-limited signals. Through these combined advances, we achieved simultaneous high-speed deep-tissue imaging of more than 100 densely labeled neurons over 1 hour in awake behaving mice. This demonstrates a scalable approach for voltage imaging across increasing neuronal populations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Calcium
  • Mice
  • Microscopy*
  • Neurons* / physiology


  • Calcium