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Organic Optoelectronic Devices for Neuromodulation Applications

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We report on development of ultrathin optoelectronic devices for stimulating biophysical processes. All of these devices rely on near infrared irradiation in the tissue transparency window to actuate nanoscale organic semiconductor components. Our flagship technology is the photocapacitor – a device that mimics biphasic current-pulse neurostimulation and thus transduces an optical signal into directly-evoked action potentials in neurons. The devices operate in the tissue transparency window of the near-infrared, where light can penetrate deeply through the skin and bone. The motivation is to provide a wireless and minimalistic implant which can perform the duty of standard implantable electrodes, but without wiring. The devices we fabricate are not only wireless but also 100-1000 times thinner than most existing technologies. Making implants have as small as possible mechanical footprint improves the efficacy of bioelectronics medical treatments by minimizing the risk for inflammation and making surgical implantation less invasive. Our to-date work has focused on optimizing these devices using single-cell electrophysiology models and retinal explants.

This talk is part of the Electrical Engineering series.

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