6. Optical Stimulation of Neurons

  1. Dr. Francesco S. Pavone
  1. S. M. Rajguru,
  2. A. I. Matic and
  3. C.-P. Richter

Published Online: 4 OCT 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9783527632053.ch6

Laser Imaging and Manipulation in Cell Biology

Laser Imaging and Manipulation in Cell Biology

How to Cite

Rajguru, S. M., Matic, A. I. and Richter, C.-P. (2010) Optical Stimulation of Neurons, in Laser Imaging and Manipulation in Cell Biology (ed F. S. Pavone), Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, Germany. doi: 10.1002/9783527632053.ch6

Editor Information

  1. University of Florence, LENS, European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy, Via Nello Carrara 1, Polo Scientifico, I-50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Florence, Italy

Author Information

  1. Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Otolaryngology, 303 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-3008, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 OCT 2010
  2. Published Print: 13 OCT 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9783527409297

Online ISBN: 9783527632053



  • neural stimulation;
  • neurons;
  • optical radiation;
  • optical stimulation;
  • photochemical mechanism


This chapter discusses the use of lasers in stimulation of neural tissue by presenting a brief review of the work that has been accomplished, and also discusses recent advances in understanding of pulsed mid-infrared lasers and the challenges that need to be addressed in the future. The idea and subsequent efforts to use optical radiation for stimulating neurons is not novel. With mixed results, many groups have studied the effects of radiation at different wavelengths on neurons. Optical stimulation has been used concurrently with electrical stimulation to modulate electrically evoked neural activity. Photochemical reactions induced by lasers are well studied in the photobiology literature. More recently, laser-neuron interactions have been studied that were not attributed to photochemical reactions. The use of lasers in stimulation of neurons and other excitable cells is of increasing interest, especially given the success of pulsed and continuous lasers in exciting neurons.

Controlled Vocabulary Terms

chemical energy conversion; electro-optical effects; neural chips