Wireless, battery-free subdermally implantable photometry systems for chronic recording of neural dynamics

Alex Burton, Sofian N. Obaid, Abraham Vázquez-Guardado, Matthew B. Schmit, Tucker Stuart, Le Cai, Zhiyuan Chen, Irawati Kandela, Chad R. Haney, Emily A. Waters, Haijiang Cai, John A. Rogers, Luyao Lu, Philipp Gutruf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Recording cell-specific neuronal activity while monitoring behaviors of freely moving subjects can provide some of the most significant insights into brain function. Current means for monitoring calcium dynamics in genetically targeted populations of neurons rely on delivery of light and recording of fluorescent signals through optical fibers that can reduce subject mobility, induce motion artifacts, and limit experimental paradigms to isolated subjects in open, two-dimensional (2D) spaces. Wireless alternatives eliminate constraints associated with optical fibers, but their use of head stages with batteries adds bulk and weight that can affect behaviors, with limited operational lifetimes. The systems introduced here avoid drawbacks of both types of technologies, by combining highly miniaturized electronics and energy harvesters with injectable photometric modules in a class of fully wireless, battery-free photometer that is fully implantable subdermally to allow for the interrogation of neural dynamics in freely behaving subjects, without limitations set by fiber optic tethers or operational lifetimes constrained by traditional power supplies. The unique capabilities of these systems, their compatibility with magnetic resonant imaging and computed tomography and the ability to manufacture them with techniques in widespread use for consumer electronics, suggest a potential for broad adoption in neuroscience research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2835-2845
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 11 2020


  • Battery-free
  • Genetically encoded calcium indicator
  • Neural dynamics
  • Photometry
  • Wireless

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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