Organic electrolytic photocapacitors for stimulation of the mouse somatosensory cortex
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Objective. For decades electrical stimulation has been used in neuroscience to investigate brain networks and been deployed clinically as a mode of therapy. Classically, all methods of electrical stimulation require implanted electrodes to be connected in some manner to an apparatus which provides power for the stimulation itself. Approach. We show the use of novel organic electronic devices, specifically organic electrolytic photocapacitors (OEPCs), which can be activated when illuminated with deep-red wavelengths of light and correspondingly do not require connections with external wires or power supplies when implanted at various depths in vivo. Main results. We stimulated cortical brain tissue of mice with devices implanted subcutaneously, as well as beneath both the skin and skull to demonstrate a wireless stimulation of the whisker motor cortex. Devices induced both a behavior response (whisker movement) and a sensory response in the corresponding sensory cortex. Additionally, we showed that coating OEPCs with a thin layer of a conducting polymer formulation (PEDOT:PSS) significantly increases their charge storage capacity, and can be used to further optimize the applied photoelectrical stimulation. Significance. Overall, this new technology can provide an on-demand electrical stimulation by simply using an OEPC and a deep-red wavelength illumination. Wires and interconnects to provide power to implanted neurostimulation electrodes are often problematic in freely-moving animal research and with implanted electrodes for long-term therapy in patients. Our wireless brain stimulation opens new perspectives for wireless electrical stimulation for applications in fundamental neurostimulation and in chronic therapy.
Keywordswireless brain stimulation, noninvasive brain stimulation, bioelectronics, photovoltaics, cortical stimulation, whisker cortical areas, neuroengineering
Document typePeer reviewed
Document versionFinal PDF
SourceJournal of Neural Engineering. 2021, vol. 18, issue 6, p. 1-11.