Neural Stimulation in vitro and in vivo by Photoacoustic Nanotransducers
Neuromodulation is an invaluable approach for study of neural circuits and clinical treatment of neurological diseases. Here, we report semiconducting polymer nanoparticles based photoacoustic nanotransducers (PANs) for neural stimulation. Our PANs strongly absorb light in the near-infrared second window and generate localized acoustic waves. PANs can also be surface-modified to selectively bind onto neurons. PAN-mediated activation of primary neurons in vitro is achieved with ten 3-nanosecond laser pulses at 1030 nm over a 3 millisecond duration. In vivo neural modulation of mouse brain activities and motor activities is demonstrated by PANs directly injected into brain cortex. With millisecond-scale temporal resolution, sub-millimeter spatial resolution and negligible heat deposition, PAN stimulation is a new non-genetic method for precise control of neuronal activities, opening potentials in non-invasive brain modulation.