Monolithic silicon for high spatiotemporal translational photostimulation

Nature. 2024 Feb;626(8001):990-998. doi: 10.1038/s41586-024-07016-9. Epub 2024 Feb 21.


Electrode-based electrical stimulation underpins several clinical bioelectronic devices, including deep-brain stimulators1,2 and cardiac pacemakers3. However, leadless multisite stimulation is constrained by the technical difficulties and spatial-access limitations of electrode arrays. Optogenetics offers optically controlled random access with high spatiotemporal capabilities, but clinical translation poses challenges4-6. Here we show tunable spatiotemporal photostimulation of cardiac systems using a non-genetic platform based on semiconductor-enabled biomodulation interfaces. Through spatiotemporal profiling of photoelectrochemical currents, we assess the magnitude, precision, accuracy and resolution of photostimulation in four leadless silicon-based monolithic photoelectrochemical devices. We demonstrate the optoelectronic capabilities of the devices through optical overdrive pacing of cultured cardiomyocytes (CMs) targeting several regions and spatial extents, isolated rat hearts in a Langendorff apparatus, in vivo rat hearts in an ischaemia model and an in vivo mouse heart model with transthoracic optical pacing. We also perform the first, to our knowledge, optical override pacing and multisite pacing of a pig heart in vivo. Our systems are readily adaptable for minimally invasive clinical procedures using our custom endoscopic delivery device, with which we demonstrate closed-thoracic operations and endoscopic optical stimulation. Our results indicate the clinical potential of the leadless, lightweight and multisite photostimulation platform as a pacemaker in cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), in which lead-placement complications are common.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy* / methods
  • Endoscopy
  • Equipment Design*
  • Heart
  • Mice
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures
  • Models, Animal
  • Myocardial Ischemia / surgery
  • Myocardial Ischemia / therapy
  • Myocytes, Cardiac
  • Pacemaker, Artificial*
  • Rats
  • Semiconductors
  • Silicon*
  • Swine


  • Silicon