Photoconductive stimulation is a
technique that allows the rapid, non-invasive depolarization of excitable cells,
such as neurons. It can be used to induce action potentials in neurons grown in
culture, reproducing a user defined activity pattern. Cells are grown on silicon
wafers in industry standard 24 well plates, and then mounted in a reusable dish
for live observation under a microscope.
The electronics provided can be used to depolarize
the cells at user-definable frequency and intensity. This technology provides
the researcher with the ability to dynamically study activity dependent
phenomena without the requirement for a direct physical link to the cell (such
as an electrode or transistor contact). The non-invasive, optical targeting
allows an extended observation period, dependent only upon the environmental
support for the cells.