Optical fibers to hack the brain

Most people believe that optical fibers are for transportation of data from point A to point B, Internet, etc. However, by combining several functional materials together it is possible to integrate different functionalities, such as electrophysiological recording and drug delivery. In this exercise, the student will have the opportunity to see i) how such fibers work and which physical mechanisms behind their functions and ii) how they can be used to stimulate and record the brain activity.

Hvad går øvelsen ud på?

Most people believe that optical fibers are for transportation of data from point A to point B, Internet, etc. However, by combining several functional materials together it is possible to integrate different functionalities, such as electrophysiological recording and drug delivery.

In this exercise, the student will have the opportunity to see i) how such fibers work and which physical mechanisms behind their functions and ii) how they can be used to stimulate and record the brain activity.

The purpose of this exercise is for students to observe in person how an optical fiber is fabricated starting from a macroscopic template, and learn how different elements, such as optical waveguides and electrodes, can be combined in an object that can be thinner than a human hair.

Using an artificial brain model, the students will be furthermore able to get a feeling of how such a device can be used to interact with neurons and effectively “hack” brain functions by modulating the activity of the neural circuits that are at the center of neurodegenerative diseases. 

Hvordan foregår øvelsen?

The exercise is conducted in the facilities of DTU Electro.

In particular, the student will use the optical fiber fabrication facility in NeuroLab, optical microscopes, and electrophysiology set ups to record mock brain signals from artificial samples. 

Hvilke faciliteter kommer du til at bruge?

DTU Electro, NeuroLab. The lab consists of:

  • A unique 3 meter tall Draw Tower to make optical fibers
  • 3D printer to develop neural interfaces
  • Lasers and light sources
  • Impedance analyzer
Tilmeldingen til SRP-øvelser 2023 er lukket

The student will be able to integrate the obtained data with existing literature for a broader research on optical neuromodulation, its advantages and challenges and the possibility for clinical translation and disease therapy.

The analysis of this relevant and exciting field can be either from a technological or neuroscientific point of view, depending on the student’s main interests and focus.

Day 1:

  • Introduction to fiber optics and thermal fiber drawing
  • Introduction to fibers’ applications in neuroscience
  • Drawing of a simple polymer optical fiber
  • Explanation with practical examples of how integrate different functionalities in optical fibers

Day 2:

  • Introduction to safety precautions when working with lasers
  • Brief introduction to the concept of electrophysiology and how it is related to electrode impedance'
  • Examination of the light transmission and electrode impedance properties of a multifunctional optical fiber
  • Mock stimulation and recording experiment in an artificial brain slice
  • Different optical spectra of the fiber and its ability to guide light.
  • Microscope optical images.
  • Data on the thermal drawing process of the fiber.
  • Electrophysiology recording from brain models.

Forslag til litteratur, du kan bruge i din opgave og som baggrund for øvelsen:

NB: Når du har tilmeldt dig, vil du få besked, hvis der er litteratur, du skal læse som forberedelse til øvelsen.

  • Bioteknologi: The student will have the chance to learn about modern genetic techniques for neuronal manipulation, as well as about neuron physiology.
  • Fysik: The student will learn about light properties and light propagation in materials, as well as about the physical constraints in the design of low-noise electrodes.
Kan kombineres med:
  • Bioteknologi
  • Fysik
  • Optical fibers
  • Neurophotonics
  • Neural interfaces
  • Brain

Tidspunkt og varighed

The exercise has 2 days duration:

  • 23 .februar kl. 9.30 - 16.00
  • 24. februar kl. 9.30 - 16.00

Antal deltagere

5

Opfølgende møde

- hvor du kan du få hjælp til  din databehandling og stille spørgsmål:

  • 7. marts kl. 13.00-14.00

Sprog

Engelsk

Arrangør og adresse

DTU Electro
Lyngby Campus

Kontakt

Kyv Kyvsgaard

Kyv Kyvsgaard Kommunikation og Outreach Institut for Elektroteknologi og Fotonik