Optocapacitance allows for photostimulation of neurons without requiring genetic modification

Joao L. Carvalho-de-Souza, Jeremy S. Treger, David R. Pepperberg, Francisco Bezanilla

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Optocapacitance is a novel technique that combines much of the power of optogenetics without requiring any transfection or genome modification in the organism or tissue of interest. It functions via the same principles as infrared neural stimulation, but uses cell-targeted gold nanoparticles to transduce incident light into local heating that stimulates excitable cells by altering their membrane capacitance. We have demonstrated this technique in both isolated neurons and brain slices, and in this chapter we describe in detail the methods used in these studies. Overall, optocapacitance is a technique that should be widely applicable to many cell-types and tissues, it can be performed using commercially available preparations with no modification, and this can complement optogenetic techniques in situations where the cost and difficulty of genetic modification are not justified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeuromethods
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

ISSN (Print)0893-2336
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6045


  • Brain slice
  • Dorsal root ganglion neurons
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Membrane capacitance
  • Optocapacitance
  • Photostimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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