Photonic Nanojet-Mediated Optogenetics

Jinghui Guo, Yong Wu, Zhiyong Gong, Xixi Chen, Fei Cao, Shashwati Kala, Zhihai Qiu, Xinyi Zhao, Jun jiang Chen, Dongming He, Taiheng Chen, Rui Zeng, Jiejun Zhu, Kin Fung Wong, Suresh Murugappan, Ting Zhu, Quanxiang Xian, Xuandi Hou, Ye Chun Ruan, Baojun LiYu Chao Li, Yao Zhang, Lei Sun

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Optogenetics has become a widely used technique in neuroscience research, capable of controlling neuronal activity with high spatiotemporal precision and cell-type specificity. Expressing exogenous opsins in the selected cells can induce neuronal activation upon light irradiation, and the activation depends on the power of incident light. However, high optical power can also lead to off-target neuronal activation or even cell damage. Limiting the incident power, but enhancing power distribution to the targeted neurons, can improve optogenetic efficiency and reduce off-target effects. Here, the use of optical lenses made of polystyrene microspheres is demonstrated to achieve effective focusing of the incident light of relatively low power to neighboring neurons via photonic jets. The presence of microspheres significantly localizes and enhances the power density to the target neurons both in vitro and ex vivo, resulting in increased inward current and evoked action potentials. In vivo results show optogenetic stimulation with microspheres that can evoke significantly more motor behavior and neuronal activation at lowered power density. In all, a proof-of-concept of a strategy is demonstrated to increase the efficacy of optogenetic neuromodulation using pulses of reduced optical power.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2104140
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2022


  • light focusing
  • microspheres
  • optogenetics
  • photonic nanojets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Photonic Nanojet-Mediated Optogenetics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this