Expanding the Toolbox of Upconversion Nanoparticles for In Vivo Optogenetics and Neuromodulation

Angelo Homayoun All, Xiao Zeng, Daniel Boon Loong Teh, Zhigao Yi, Ankshita Prasad, Toru Ishizuka, Nitish V Thakor, Yawo Hiromu, Xiaogang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Optogenetics is an optical technique that exploits visible light for selective neuromodulation with spatio-temporal precision. Despite enormous effort, the effective stimulation of targeted neurons, which are located in deeper structures of the nervous system, by visible light, remains a technical challenge. Compared to visible light, near-infrared illumination offers a higher depth of tissue penetration owing to a lower degree of light attenuation. Herein, an overview of advances in developing new modalities for neural circuitry modulation utilizing upconversion-nanoparticle-mediated optogenetics is presented. These developments have led to minimally invasive optical stimulation and inhibition of neurons with substantially improved selectivity, sensitivity, and spatial resolution. The focus is to provide a comprehensive review of the mechanistic basis for evaluating upconversion parameters, which will be useful in designing, executing, and reporting optogenetic experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1803474
JournalAdvanced Materials
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • in vivo optogenetics
  • near-infrared light
  • noninvasive neuromodulation
  • upconversion nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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