Optogenetics has rocked the world of neuroscience for more than a decade now. But neuroscientists want more from the technique—and less, including more depth and less invasiveness.
As neuroscientists progress in their application of optogenetics, they want to take it further. This is evidenced by an explosion in the development of light-sensitive opsins that allow researchers to target neurons with amazing specificity. The result has been an explosion in understanding the relationships between neural dynamics and behavior. But the old problem of light scattering is a hurdle in the path of brain research. At this point, optogenetics’ dramatic impact on neuroscience is being tenuated by the invasive use of optical fiber to reach beyond the brain’s superficial layer. Thank goodness for the ingenuity of engineers, as new and refined optical tools are increasing depth and reducing invasiveness simultaneously.