Disposable ultrasound-sensing chronic cranial window by soft nanoimprinting lithography

Hao Li, Biqin Dong, Xian Zhang, Xiao Shu, Xiangfan Chen, Rihan Hai, David A. Czaplewski, Hao F. Zhang, Cheng Sun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Chronic cranial window (CCW) is an essential tool in enabling longitudinal imaging and manipulation of various brain activities in live animals. However, an active CCW capable of sensing the concealed in vivo environment while simultaneously providing longitudinal optical access to the brain is not currently available. Here we report a disposable ultrasound-sensing CCW (usCCW) featuring an integrated transparent nanophotonic ultrasonic detector fabricated using soft nanoimprint lithography process. We optimize the sensor design and the associated fabrication process to significantly improve detection sensitivity and reliability, which are critical for the intend longitudinal in vivo investigations. Surgically implanting the usCCW on the skull creates a self-contained environment, maintaining optical access while eliminating the need for external ultrasound coupling medium for photoacoustic imaging. Using this usCCW, we demonstrate photoacoustic microscopy of cortical vascular network in live mice over 28 days. This work establishes the foundation for integrating photoacoustic imaging with modern brain research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4277
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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