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Fiber-Coupled LEDs for Optogenetics
530 nm LED
470 nm LED
Compact LED Driver
LEDs Can Deliver High-Power Light to Specimens for Exciting Neurons Using Implantable Cannulae
Click to Enlarge
DC4100 Driver, four fiber-coupled LEDs, optogenetics patch cables, and fiber optic cannulae.
This page offers a selection of Thorlabs' fiber-coupled LEDs and drivers that are well suited for integration into optogenetics experimental setups (see photo to the right). During in vivo procedures, light from one or two LED sources are coupled into a fiber optic cannula, which is implanted in a specimen, where it is used to excite opsin proteins sensitive to the emitted light. LEDs are commonly used for these stimulation experiments as they provide high-power output over a broad range of wavelengths and exhibit superior illumination homogeneity than lasers.
The LEDs sold here feature nominal wavelengths ranging from 470 nm to 625 nm that correspond to opsins commonly used for neuron stimulation or silencing (see the Specs tab or table to the right for more information). Each fiber-coupled LED consists of a single LED that is coupled to the inserted optical fiber via butt coupling. The coupling efficiency is primarily dependent on the core diameter and the numerical aperture (NA) of the connected fiber. Larger core diameters and higher NA values give rise to reduced losses and increased output power at the end of the fiber. The spectrum of each LED and associated data file can be viewed by clicking on the links in the table to the right or in the Specs tab. Multiple windows can be opened simultaneously in order to compare LEDs.
We also offer fiber-coupled LEDs with other nominal wavelengths in addition to LEDs with a broadband white light spectrum.
Optogenetics Product Family for In Vivo Applications
Thorlabs offers a wide variety of products designed to support in vivo optogenetics applications. Please visit the OG Selection Guide tab above to see a full listing of available products for different applications.
Optogenetics Selection Guide
Thorlabs offers a wide range of optogenetics components; the compatibility of these products in select standard configurations is discussed in detail here. Please contact Technical Support for assistance with items outside the scope of this guide, including custom fiber components for optogenetics.
The most straightforward method for in vivo light stimulation of a specimen is to use a single fiber optic with a single LED light source. The single wavelength LED is powered by an LED driver, and then the illumination output is fiber-coupled into a patch cable, which connects to the implanted cannula. See the graphics and expandable compatibility tables below for the necessary patch cables and cannulae to create this setup. To choose the appropriate LED and driver, see below or the full web presentation.
Click on Each Component for More Information
Click to See Ø1.25 mm (LC) Ferrule Compatible Patch Cables, Cannulae, and Interconnects
Click to See Ø2.5 mm (FC) Ferrule Compatible Patch Cables, Cannulae, and Interconnects
The ability to accurately and simultaneously direct light to multiple locations within a specimen is desired for many types of optogenetics experiments. For example, bilateral stimulation techniques typically target neurons in two spatially separated regions in order to induce a desired behavior. In more complex experiments involving the simultaneous inhibition and stimulation of neurons, delivering light of two different monochromatic wavelengths within close proximity enables the user to perform these experiments without implanting multiple cannulae, which can increase stress on the specimen.
Bilateral stimulation can be achieved with several different configurations depending on the application requirements. The sections below illustrate examples of different configurations using Thorlabs' optogenetics products.
Thorlabs' RJ2 1x2 Rotary Joint Splitter is designed for optogenetics applications and is used to split light from a single input evenly between two outputs. The rotary joint interface allows connected patch cables to freely rotate, reducing the risk of fiber damage caused by a moving specimen. See the graphic and compatibility table below for the necessary cables and cannulae to create this setup. For LEDs and drivers, see below or the full web presentation.
Click to See Ø1.25 mm (LC) Ferrule Components Recommended for Use with RJ2 Rotary Joint Splitter
Click to See Ø2.5 mm (FC) Ferrule Components Recommended for Use with RJ2 Rotary Joint Splitter
If the intent is for one LED source to connect to two cannulae for simultaneous light modulation, then a bifurcated fiber bundle can be used to split the light from the LED into each respective cannula. For dual wavelength stimulation (mixing two wavelengths in a single cannula) or a more controlled split ratio between cannula, one can use a multimode coupler to connect one or two LEDs to the cannulae. If one cable end is left unused, the spare coupler cable end may be terminated by a light trap. See the graphic and compatibility table below for the necessary cables and cannulae to create this setup. For LEDs and drivers, see below or the full web presentation.
Click on Each Component Below for More Information
For bilateral stimulation applications where the two cannulas need to be placed in close proximity (within ~1 mm), Thorlabs offers dual-core patch cables and cannulae that are designed for this specific application. Each core is driven by a separate light source, enabling users to stimulate and/or supress nerve cells in the same region of the specimen. See the graphic and compatibility table below for the necessary cables and cannulae to create this setup. For LEDs and drivers, see below or the full web presentation.
Click on Each Component for More Information
Click to Enlarge
Our fiber-coupled LEDs are ideal light sources for optogenetics applications. They feature a variety of wavelength choices and a convenient interconnection to optogenetics patch cables. Thorlabs offers fiber-coupled LEDs with nominal wavelengths ranging from 280 nm to 1050 nm. See the table to the right for the LEDs with the most popular wavelengths for optogenetics. A table of compatible LED drivers can be viewed by clicking below.
All of the drivers sold here can be used to drive the fiber-coupled LEDs sold above. The LEDD1B and DC2200 can drive up to one LED at a time, whereas the DC4100 and DC4104 can control up to four LEDs simultaneously by using the DC4100-HUB.
Each controller is capable of modulating the driven LED using an external trigger. For the DC4100 controller, all LEDs are controlled by the same modulation signal but can be individually deactivated. For the DC4104 controller, each LED is controlled by a separate modulation signal, all of which are provided through a single, included cable. The DC2200 also provides internal modulation for frequencies up to 100 kHz.
Click on the item number link below to view the complete presentation for each controller.