Thermal and optical characterization of micro-LED probes for in vivo optogenetic neural stimulation

Niall McAlinden, David Massoubre, Elliot Richardson, Erdan Gu, Shuzo Sakata, Martin D Dawson, Keith Mathieson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Citations (Scopus)
206 Downloads (Pure)


Within optogenetics there is a need for compact light sources that are capable of delivering light with excellent spatial, temporal, and spectral resolution to deep brain structures. Here, we demonstrate a custom GaN-based LED probe for such applications and the electrical, optical, and thermal properties are analyzed. The output power density and emission spectrum were found to be suitable for stimulating channelrhodopsin-2, one of the most common light-sensitive proteins currently used in optogenetics. The LED device produced high light intensities, far in excess of those required to stimulate the light-sensitive proteins within the neurons. Thermal performance was also investigated, illustrating that a broad range of operating regimes in pulsed mode are accessible while keeping a minimum increase in temperature for the brain (0.5°C). This type of custom device represents a significant step forward for the optogenetics community, allowing multiple bright excitation sites along the length of a minimally invasive neural probe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)992-994
Number of pages3
JournalOptics Letters
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2013


  • thermal
  • optical characterization
  • micro-LED probes
  • in vivo optogenetic neural stimulation
  • neural stimulation
  • optogenetics


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