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Biophys J. 1983 May;42(2):195-8.

Fluorescence monitoring of electrical responses from small neurons and their processes.


To improve the sensitivity of fluorescence measurements of electrical responses from small cells and their processes, we have optimized the optical measuring system. The fluorescence intensity from a stained cell was increased 40-fold relative to our previous apparatus. The increased fluorescence intensity permits the use of an inexpensive photodiode (or a photodiode array) that has a approximately 10-fold higher quantum efficiency relative to a photomultiplier. Utilizing the improved apparatus, we optically recorded an action potential of a 2 microns wide neuronal process with a signal-to-noise ratio of approximately 50 (root mean square noise) without averaging. We also report the design of an improved fluorescence voltage-sensitive probe; the fractional change of the fluorescence signal under optimal conditions was 21%/100 mV.

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