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J Neurosci Methods. 2014 Apr 30;227:132-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2014.02.013. Epub 2014 Mar 5.

A magnetic rotary optical fiber connector for optogenetic experiments in freely moving animals.

Author information

1
Neuroscience Program, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, United States. Electronic address: dklorig@wakehealth.edu.
2
Neuroscience Program, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, United States; Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, United States.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Performing optogenetic experiments in a behaving animal presents a unique technical challenge. In order to provide an optical path between a fixed light source and a chronically implanted fiber in a freely moving animal, a typical experimental setup includes a detachable connection between the light source and the head of the animal, as well as a rotary joint to relieve torsional stress during movement.

NEW METHOD:

We have combined the functionality of the head mounted connector and the rotary joint into a single integrated device that is inexpensive, simple to build, and easy to use.

RESULTS:

A typical rotary connector has a transmission efficiency of 80% with a rotational variability of 4%, but can be configured to have a rotational variability of 2% at the expense of a reduced transmission efficiency. Depending on configuration, rotational torque ranges from 14 to 180μNm, making the rotary connector suitable for use with small animals such as mice.

COMPARISON WITH EXISTING METHODS:

Benchmark tests demonstrate that our connectors perform similarly to commercially available solutions in terms of transmission efficiency, rotational variability, and torque but at a fraction of the cost. Unlike currently available solutions, our unique design requires a single optical junction which significantly reduces overall light loss. In addition, magnets allow the connectors and caps to "snap into place" for quick yet reliable connection and disconnection.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our rotary connector system offers superior performance, reduced cost, and is easily incorporated into existing optogenetic setups.

KEYWORDS:

Chronic implantation; Optical fibers; Optogenetics

PMID:
24613796
PMCID:
PMC4122252
DOI:
10.1016/j.jneumeth.2014.02.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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