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Biophys J. 2007 Aug 15;93(4):1347-53. Epub 2007 May 25.

Depth-resolved measurement of transient structural changes during action potential propagation.

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  • 1Harvard Medical School and Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


We report noncontact optical measurement of fast transient structural changes in the crustacean nerve during action potential propagation without the need for exogenous chemicals or reflection coatings. The technique, spectral domain optical coherence tomography, provides real-time cross-sectional images of the nerve with micron-scale resolution to select a specific region for functional assessment and interferometric phase sensitivity for subnanometer-scale motion detection. Noncontact optical measurements demonstrate nanometer-scale transient movement on a 1-ms timescale associated with action potential propagation in crayfish and lobster nerves.

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