Non-toxic semiconductor nanocrystals stimulate and record neuronal activity
The ability to "see" the large-scale dynamic activity of neurons and their networks is an important tool that has complemented well-established electrophysiological current and voltage recording methods. Nanotechnology has been an enabler of advances in optical approaches. For example, semiconductor nanocrystals including quantum dots as fluorescent voltage sensors have been successfully used to report voltage changes across neurons with very high temporal accuracy. Cadmium-based quantum dots were the first commercially available, but cadmium can be toxic to cells. The EU-funded iNano project is developing novel semiconductor nanocrystals made of high-performing and safe indium phosphide to light the way to neurons – and to "activate" them.
Fields of science
- natural sciencesbiological sciencesneurobiology
- natural scienceschemical sciencesinorganic chemistrytransition metals
- natural scienceschemical sciencesinorganic chemistrypost-transition metals
- engineering and technologynanotechnologynano-materialsnanocrystals
- natural sciencesphysical scienceselectromagnetism and electronicssemiconductivity