Laser stimulation of auditory neurons at high repetition rate

Agnella D. Izzo*, Philip Littlefield, Joseph T. Walsh, Jim Webb, Heather Ralph, Mark Bendett, E. Duco Jansen, Claus Peter Richter

*Corresponding author for this work

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

7 Scopus citations


Pulsed, mid-infrared lasers can evoke neural activity from motor as well as sensory neurons in vivo. Lasers allow more selective spatial resolution of stimulation than the conventional electrical stimulation. To date, few studies have examined pulsed, mid-infrared neural stimulation and very little of the available optical parameter space has been studied. We found that pulse durations as short as 20 μs elicit a compound action potential from the gerbil cochlea. Moreover, stimulation thresholds are not a function of absolute energy or absolute power deposited. Compound action potential peak-to-peak amplitude remained constant over extended periods of stimulation. Stimulation occurred up six hours continuously and up to 50 Hz in repetition rate. Single fiber experiments were made using repetition rates of up to 1 kHz. Action potentials occurred 2.5-4 ms after the laser pulse. Maximum rates of discharge were up to 250 action potentials per second. With increasing stimulation rate (300 Hz), the action potentials did not respond strictly after the light pulse. The results from these experiments are important for designing the next generation of neuroprostheses, specifically cochlear implants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOptical Interactions with Tissue and Cells XVIII
StatePublished - Apr 30 2007
EventOptical Interactions with Tissue and Cells XVIII - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 22 2007Jan 24 2007

Publication series

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


OtherOptical Interactions with Tissue and Cells XVIII
CountryUnited States
CitySan Jose, CA


  • Cochlear implant
  • Optical stimulation
  • Spatial selectivity

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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