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Ultrasonic sculpting of virtual optical waveguides in tissue.

Nat Commun. 2019 Jan 09;10(1):92

Authors: Chamanzar M, Scopelliti MG, Bloch J, Do N, Huh M, Seo D, Iafrati J, Sohal VS, Alam MR, Maharbiz MM

Optical imaging and stimulation are widely used to study biological events. However, scattering processes limit the depth to which externally focused light can penetrate tissue. Optical fibers and waveguides are commonly inserted into tissue when delivering light deeper than a few millimeters. This approach, however, introduces complications arising from tissue damage. In addition, it makes it difficult to steer light. Here, we demonstrate that ultrasound can be used to define and steer the trajectory of light within scattering media by exploiting local pressure differences created by acoustic waves that result in refractive index contrasts. We show that virtual light pipes can be created deep into the tissue (>18 scattering mean free paths). We demonstrate the application of this technology in confining light through mouse brain tissue. This technology is likely extendable to form arbitrary light patterns within tissue, extending both the reach and the flexibility of light-based methods.

PMID: 30626873 [PubMed – in process]