Press Releases > Head-mounted, High-speed Confocal Imager for Voltage-sensitive Neuronal Recording

Head-mounted, High-speed Confocal Imager for Voltage-sensitive Neuronal Recording

Press Release

Press Release

Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) has been awarded a contract from the National Institutes of Health to develop a miniaturized head-mounted neuronal imager for freely-behaving animals with high spatiotemporal resolution.

Cognitive functions of the brain are underpinned by complex and highly dynamic neural activities at the sub-cellular levels and millisecond time scales. To discover the normal/abnormal neuronal activities and thus understand detailed mechanisms of neurological disorders and dysfunctions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), measurement tools that offer sufficient spatiotemporal resolution are needed. Fluorescence imaging/microscopy is one of the state-of-the-art technologies for high spatial resolution recording of the activity of neuron populations. However, existing fluorescence neural imaging technologies generally have limited speed, providing less than a few hundred frames per second. High-speed imaging is particularly challenging for miniaturized, head-mounted imagers used for in vivo studies on freely-behaving animals. Moreover, current head-mounted fluorescence imagers use epi-fluorescence illumination, which cannot reject out-of-focus background fluorescence.

During this R&D program, Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) and our academic collaborators propose to develop and demonstrate a high-speed (>kHz frame rate), head-mounted, confocal imager that can optically capture neuronal electrical activity with high spatiotemporal details. Technology innovations are proposed to enable this capability. First, an “active sensing” signal detection method combines two complementary imaging channels to achieve parallel neuronal recording with both sub-micron spatial resolution and sub-millisecond temporal resolution. Second, a novel hybrid fiber bundle scanning approach achieves confocal imaging capability based on a miniaturized optical setup. This R&D project will result in a robust technology for non-invasive recording of neuronal kinetics with high spatiotemporal resolution, offering a critical tool for neuroscience research.

For more information contact:

Dr. Youbo Zhao
Group Leader, Spectral Solutions
Physical Sciences Inc.
Office: (978) 689-0003

Acknowledgement of Sponsorship: This work is supported by a contract with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This support does not constitute an express or implied endorsement on the part of the Government.