Optical stimulation of cardiac cells with a polymer-supported silicon nanowire matrix.


Department of Physics, Korea University, 02841 Seoul, Korea; [Email] [Email]


Electronic pacemakers can treat electrical conduction disorders in hearts; however, they are invasive, bulky, and linked to increased incidence of infection at the tissue-device interface. Thus, researchers have looked to other more biocompatible methods for cardiac pacing or resynchronization, such as femtosecond infrared light pulsing, optogenetics, and polymer-based cardiac patches integrated with metal electrodes. Here we develop a biocompatible nongenetic approach for the optical modulation of cardiac cells and tissues. We demonstrate that a polymer-silicon nanowire composite mesh can be used to convert fast moving, low-radiance optical inputs into stimulatory signals in target cardiac cells. Our method allows for the stimulation of the cultured cardiomyocytes or ex vivo heart to beat at a higher target frequency.



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