Creation of a commutator for use in experiments with Neuropixels probes and optogenetics
The creation of a commutator which makes it possible to conduct neuronal recording using the Neuropixels probe and optogenetics stimulation on free moving mice.
The most complex part of this challenge was the creation of the rotary system capable of guaranteeing the integrity of the signals originating from the NeuroPixels probe. The system needed to guarantee a throughput bandwidth of 1.5GHz.
Our team worked hard to produce all the electronics necessary to guarantee the maximum stability ad reliability of the system and then put it through a series of thorough tests.
Once the communication portion of the device had been verified the team proceeded to integrate this design with a motorized controller in order to follow the subject’s movements and with an innovative design for optogenetics light source based on our aoLED.
In classical commutator solutions the optogenetics is made available through a rotary optical joint; this solution however introduces a noticeable loss in optical power which in the best of cases is constant, and in the worst of cases noisy.
Wanting to achieve the greatest optical power possible and best possible stability, we worked on building a mechanical solution which avoided rotary joints along the optical path. This involved reducing the size of our aoLED unit and mounting it below the rotary head, while building power and communication channels into the rotary joint to allow the unit to operate under optimal optical conditions.
The final solution was a compact active commutator able follow lightweight subjects, compatible with Neuropixel electrodes and coupled to an optogenetics stimulation system based on our aoLED which guarantees maximum optical output and stability.
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