Rational design of silicon structures for optically controlled multiscale biointerfaces

Yuanwen Jiang, Xiaojian Li, Bing Liu, Jaeseok Yi, Yin Fang, Fengyuan Shi, Xiang Gao, Edward Sudzilovsky, Ramya Parameswaran, Kelliann Koehler, Vishnu Nair, Jiping Yue, Kuang Hua Guo, Yin Fang, Hsiu Ming Tsai, George Freyermuth, Raymond C.S. Wong, Chien Min Kao, Chin Tu Chen, Alan W. NichollsXiaoyang Wu, Gordon M.G. Shepherd, Bozhi Tian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations


Silicon-based materials have been widely used in biological applications. However, remotely controlled and interconnect-free silicon configurations have been rarely explored, because of limited fundamental understanding of the complex physicochemical processes that occur at interfaces between silicon and biological materials. Here, we describe rational design principles, guided by biology, for establishing intracellular, intercellular and extracellular silicon-based interfaces, where the silicon and the biological targets have matched properties. We focused on light-induced processes at these interfaces, and developed a set of matrices to quantify and differentiate the capacitive, Faradaic and thermal outputs from about 30 different silicon materials in saline. We show that these interfaces are useful for the light-controlled non-genetic modulation of intracellular calcium dynamics, of cytoskeletal structures and transport, of cellular excitability, of neurotransmitter release from brain slices and of brain activity in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-521
Number of pages14
JournalNature Biomedical Engineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications


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