Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Optical Neural Interfaces for Optogenetic Interrogation
by Boutte, Ronald W., Ph.D., The University of Utah, 2018, 151; 10791039
Abstract (Summary)

Precise optical neural stimulation is an essential element in the use of optogenetics to elicit predictable neural action potentials within the brain, but accessing specific neocortical layers, light scattering, columniation, and ease of tissue damage pose unique challenges to the device engineer. This dissertation presents the design, simulation, microfabrication, and characterization of the Utah Optrode Array (UOA) for precise neural tissue targeting through three main objectives: 1. Maskless wafer-level microfabrication of optical penetrating neural arrays out of soda- lime glass: Utah Optrode Array. 2. Utah Optrode Array customization using stereotactic brain atlases and 3D CAD modeling for optogenetic neocortical interrogation in small rodents and nonhuman primates. 3. Single optrode characterization of the UOA for neocortical illumination. Maskless microfabrication techniques were used to create 169 individual 9 × 9 arrays 3.85 mm × 3.85 mm with 1.1 mm long optrodes from a single two inch glass wafer. The 9 × 9 UOA was too large for precise targeting of the upper layers of the cortex in smaller animals such as mice, so an array customization method was developed using Solidworks and off-the-shelf brain atlases to create 8 × 6 arrays 3.45 mm × 2.45 mm with 400 μm long optrodes. Stereotactic atlases were imported into Solidworks, splined, and lofted together to create a single 3D CAD model of a specific region of interest in the brain. Chronic and acute brain trauma showed excellent results for the 8 × 6 arrays in C57BL/6 wild-type mice (Mus musculus) and macaque monkey (Macaca fascicularis). Simulation, characterization, and radiometric testing of a single optrode of the 9 × 9 array was necessary to prove the ability to transmit light directly to specific tissue. Zemax optical design software was used to predict the light transmission capabilities, and then these results were compared to actual bench-top results. Insertion loss was both predicted and measured to be 3.7 dB. Power budgeting showed 9% of the light was lost at the interfaces of the UOA’s backplane and tip in air, and 48% was lost through back-scattering, leaving 43% transmitting through the optrode with no measurable taper loss. Scanning electron microscopy showed small amounts of devitrification of the glass, and atomic force microscopy showed average surface roughness to be 13.5 nm and a root mean square roughness of 20.6 nm. The output beam was profiled in fluorescein dye with a total divergence angle of 63◦ with a cross over distance to adjacent beams at 255 μm.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Blair, Steven
Commitee: Clark, Gregory, Furse, Cynthia, Solzbacher, Florian, Tathireddy, Prashant
School: The University of Utah
Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering
School Location: United States -- Utah
Source: DAI-B 81/3(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Electrical engineering, Neurosciences, Optics
Keywords: Brain interfaces, MEMS, MOEMS, Neural stimulation, Neurophotonics, Optogenetics
Publication Number: 10791039
ISBN: 9781088320617
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