There is a need for non-invasive methods of neural probing without genetic modification for both clinical and scientific use. It has been found that action potentials are accompanied by small nanometer-scale membrane deformations in firing neurons. These mechanical waves, known as “action waves”, travel down axons in concert with action potentials and could be used to determine neuronal activity. Because acoustic waves are far less lossy in the brain than electromagnetic waves, we believe it may be possible to detect action waves from neurons up to 4 millimeters away with a micromachined hydrophone. The detection of such acoustic signals could pave the way for both high resolution non- invasive recordings of neuronal firing as well as implantable probes with recording volumes much larger than conventional extracellular electrophysiological recording electrodes.
Project end date: 01/30/17