• neuron growth;
  • spatial light modulator;
  • Bessel beam


The growth cone of a developing neuron can be guided using a focused infra-red (IR) laser beam [1]. In previous setups this process has required a significant amount of user intervention to adjust continuously the laser beam to guide the growing neuron. Previously, a system using an acousto-optical deflector (AOD) has been developed to steer the beam [2]. However, to enhance the controllability of this system, here we demonstrate the use of a computer controlled spatial light modulator (SLM) to steer and manipulate the shape of a laser beam for use in guided neuronal growth. This new experimental setup paves the way to enable a comprehensive investigation into beam shaping effects on neuronal growth and we show neuronal growth initiated by a Bessel light mode. This is a robust platform to explore the biochemistry of this novel phenomenon. (© 2009 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)