Action potential block in neurons by infrared light. Academic Article uri icon


  • Short infrared laser pulses (SILP) have many physiological effects on cells, including the ability to stimulate action potentials (APs) in neurons. Here, we show that SILPs can also reversibly block APs. Reversible AP block in hippocampal neurons was observed following SILP (0.26 to [Formula: see text]; 1.37 to 5.01ms; 1869nm) with the block persisting for more than 1s with exposures greater than [Formula: see text]. AP block was sustained for 30s with SILPs pulsed at 1 to 7Hz. Full recovery of neuronal activity was observed 5 to 30s post SILP exposure. These results indicate that SILP can be used for noncontact, reversible AP block. Due to the high spatial precision and noncontact manner of infrared light delivery, AP block by SILP (infrared neural inhibition) has the potential to transform medical care for sustained pain inhibition and suppression of unwanted nerve activity.

published proceedings

  • Neurophotonics

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Walsh, A. J., Tolstykh, G. P., Martens, S., Ibey, B. L., & Beier, H. T.

citation count

  • 27

complete list of authors

  • Walsh, Alex J||Tolstykh, Gleb P||Martens, Stacey||Ibey, Bennett L||Beier, Hope T

publication date

  • October 2016