Frontiers in optical stimulation of neural tissues: Past, present, and future

Jonathon Wells*, Mark Bendett, Jim Webb, Claus Richter, Agnella Izzo, E. Duco Jansen, Anita Mahadevan-Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

7 Scopus citations


Since lasers were first used in medicine and biomedical related research there have been a variety of documented effects following the irradiation of neural tissues. The first systematic studies to report the direct stimulatory effect of infrared light on neural tissues were performed by researchers at Vanderbilt University in the rat sciatic nerve. These initial studies demonstrated a set of associated advantages of standard stimulation methods, which lead to much excitement and anticipation from the neuroscience community and industry. The inception of this new field included a partnership between industry and academia to foster the development, not only of the applications but also a series of devices to support the research and ultimate commercialization of technology. Currently several institutions are actively utilizing this technique in various applications including in the cochlear and vestibular systems. As more researchers enter the field and new devices are developed we anticipate the number of applications will continue to grow. Some of the next steps will include the establishment of the safety and efficacy data to move this technique to clinical trials and human use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOptical Interactions with Tissue and Cells XIX
StatePublished - Apr 21 2008
EventOptical Interactions with Tissue and Cells XIX - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 21 2008Jan 23 2008

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherOptical Interactions with Tissue and Cells XIX
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose, CA


  • Infrared nerve stimulation
  • Lasers
  • Nerve
  • Optical stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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