Theresa M. Rienmüller: Extracellular stimulation using photovoltaic devices

Exner Lectures 2023 – Theresa Margarethe Rienmüller (TU Graz)

In this talk I will show a novel area of application of organic photovoltaic devices. Recently developed organic electrolytic photocapacitors (OEPCs) are composed of a transparent bilayer of organic semiconductors with a donor-acceptor (p-n) structure, which is deposited on a conductive substrate through vacuum thermal evaporation. In this talk I will show the capabilities of OEPCs to work as wireless, extracellular photocapacitive electrodes, which can optically and non-genetically modulate cellular physiology. OEPCs can depolarize cell membranes upon visible light stimulation, leading to the activation of voltage-gated ion channels in mammalian cells, eliciting action potentials in cultured primary hippocampal neurons. The effectiveness of the OEPCs is shown using both whole-cell patch-clamp recordings and a detailed kinetic model of the stimulated cells.