Infrared neural stimulation at different wavelengths and pulse shapes

Yingyue Xu, Mario Magnuson, Aditi Agarwal, Xiaodong Tan, Claus Peter Richter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Neural stimulation with infrared radiation has been explored for brain tissue, peripheral nerves, and cranial nerves including the auditory nerve. Initial experiments were conducted at wavelengths between λ = 1850 and λ = 2140 nm and the radiant energy was delivered with square pulses. Water absorption of the infrared radiation at λ = 1860 nm is similar to absorption at wavelengths between λ = 1310 and λ = 1600 nm, which are in the radiation wavelength range used for the communication industry. Technology for those wavelengths has already been developed and miniaturized and is readily available. The possibility of the infrared light to evoke compound action potentials (CAP) in the cochlea at λ = 1,375, λ = 1,460, and λ = 1550 nm was explored and compared to that of λ = 1860 nm in guinea pigs. Furthermore, rise and fall times of the 100 μs long pulses were changed and four basic pulse shapes (square, triangular, ramp-up, and ramp-down) were explored in their ability to evoke a CAP. In animals with pure tone threshold averages (PTAs) above 70 dB SPL, the results show that the favorable wavelength is λ = 1460 nm to reach threshold for stimulation and λ = 1375 nm or λ = 1460 nm for obtaining maximum amplitude. The most favorable pulse shape is either ramp-up or triangular.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-100
Number of pages12
JournalProgress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Cochlea
  • Infrared
  • Neural stimulation
  • Pulse shape
  • Wavelength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology


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