Plasmonic stimulation of electrically excitable biological cells

Parveen Bazard
Robert Dana Frisina
Joseph Paul Walton
Venkat Rama Bhethanabotla


A novel method to stimulate electrically active biological cells using visible wavelength light and metallic nanoparticles possessing plasmonic properties is presented herein. Using this technology, prosthetic devices such as cochlear and retinal implants and cardiac pacemakers can be developed to have superior properties as compared to the currently utilized electrical stimulation designs. These properties include improved spatial resolution; less or non-invasive devices; and higher fidelity of transduction. An additional advantage of using visible light wavelengths is the avoidance of unwanted heating of surrounding tissue that occurs with infrared stimulation.