Undergrad Research Project - Acousto-optic trapping

Spring 2017

Student
Alexandra Lechner
Advisor
Maysam Chamanzar
Project description

Optogenetics is the study of using light to control cells that have been genetically modified to be responsive to optical stimulation. This technique can be used to stimulate genetically modified neurons in living tissue to trigger an action potential as a method to stimulate neural activity. A potential method of improving the selectivity of optogenetic stimulation is with ultrasonic trapping. Ultrasonic waves create a pressure field that can be used to trap particles, and could potentially be used to move particles to a given location for further stimulation by light. When the ultrasonic waves are removed, the pressure field no longer exists, and the particles are released from their trapped positions. To support the continuation of this work, this project will use ultrasonic trapping as a method of patterning particles and observing their dynamics in a given medium over time so that we may begin trials with trapping objects for optical stimulation.

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