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SfN Annual Meeting Neuroscience 2014
November 16-19
Washington DC, USA

Information > News > New photonics hardware products for optogenetics

New photonics hardware products for optogenetics

A word from Sead Doric:

I just came back from Photonics West exhibitions in San Francisco. Obviously, this is more of a laser and optics show but I could not help thinking of optogenetics and what photonics can do for it. I took advantage of vicinity of Stanford University and payed visit to Karl Diesseroth`s lab, where the word optogenetics was coined. There I had a chat with the man himself, his students and his co-workers about their current and future equipments and consumables needs. That place is sizzling with activities and everyone seems ever so busy doing all kinds of optogenetics research.

However, it is not only this optogenetics Mecca that is being so busy. The whole thing is going viral as more and more action is coming from the rest of US, Europe, Japan and South Korea.

All that puts us, at Doric Lenses, in the hot seat as our production and research units are scrambling to respond to numerous requests. Just before going to Photonics West, we released printed January edition of our catalog for Photonics Hardware products for Optogenetics and it is already antiquated since we have added a couple of new products to it. Luckily, we live in information age and our internet version of the catalog is updated daily. On the front page of our website we added a direct link to the catalog that allows quick access to our optogenetics product range (This is to quell complaints that the site is intricate and too complex to navigate).

Among novelties there is a neat magnetic connector featuring fiber ferrule and magnetic cylinder parallel to each other, while the receptacle has similar form but with a hole instead of the ferrule. When connecting, the fiber ferrule is inserted into the hole while the magnets are at the opposite sides. By rotating the connector around the ferrule, the magnets are brought above each other when they snap gently. One needs to try it to appreciate the snapping. As convergence of different techniques for cell monitoring (optogenetics, electrophysiology) and fluid administration gathers speed, we are determined to support this trend by providing enabling photonics hardware products. An example of our efforts is a new hybrid cannula named Optic & Fluid Cannula.

The basic idea behind optogenetics is introducing the virus born proteins like channelrhodopsin-2 to targeted cells or neurons and illuminating the same cells through the fiber optic tip. So far injection of the protein and implantation of the fiber-optic cannula have been two separate implantations and that might lead to imprecision. That problem was brought to our attention by researchers from Brain Science Institute, RIKEN, Japan. We have addressed the problem by inventing a new hybrid cannula that assures that virus injection and optical simulation are happening in the same location. The cannula has a metal tube that guides the optical fiber and restricts liquid delivery to the area surrounding the fiber tip. One version of the hybrid cannula is based on the M3 or mini sma receptacle, metal guiding tube and side connection for the liquid injection. In other incarnation of hybrid cannula we use our new rectangular magnetic receptacle and similar side connection for the liquid injection. The users are asked to specify the length of the metal tube or the length of the fiber.

As more and more research centers are adopting optogenetics methods the need for basic hardware tools becomes greater. For newcomers in the field, selecting those tools might be very cumbersome. In order to make life for them (and us) simpler we are creating an optogenetics kit that will cover most initial needs. From our sales experience we have some clear ideas as what the kit should contain. However, I would appreciate receiving suggestions from our users as what the kit should contain.

Sead Doric, President
Doric Lenses Inc. ...on the light side of optogenetics

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