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Proceedings Paper

Detection of ionic concentration fluctuations using tapered microscopic optical waveguides
Author(s): Suzie Dufour; Oana Chever; Florin Amzica; Réal Vallée
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Paper Abstract

The various ions present in the extra- and intracellular mediums, such as potassium, occupy an important role for many biological phenomena. So far, biologists and electrophysiologists have been working hard to understand the role of several ions in cellular behaviors. Our objective is to measure ionic concentration fluctuations using a tapered optical (fiber) guide and an ionic indicator. The optical cylindrical waveguides are tapered to a final diameter of 10 micrometers. The resulting probes are first used to transmit excitation light (349 nm wavelength) into the solution, and then, they are used to collect a potassium indicator (PBFI) fluorescence. The indicator emission depends on the potassium concentration and, by monitoring this fluorescence, a correlation can be made with the potassium current. Two types of optical waveguides have been studied: a multimode fiber optic (Thorlabs FG-200-UCR) and a borosilicate capillary (generally used as an electrophysiological electrode). Results show that concentration fluctuations in the order of 10 mM can be monitored using tapered optical guides. However the signal to noise ratio and the sensing repeatability are requiring further improvements. Thus, tapered optical waveguides can be used as ionic sensors. It has been demonstrated that sensors as small as 10 micrometers are sensitive to concentration fluctuations. Optical indicators are widely used in microscopy and they offer many possibilities in terms of their specificity (for ions as well as for other particles). Thus optical fibers, by guiding the light into deep regions, allow for the use of optical indicators in vivo.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 September 2006
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 6343, Photonics North 2006, 63430B (8 September 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.706574
Show Author Affiliations
Suzie Dufour, Univ. Laval (Canada)
Oana Chever, Univ. Laval (Canada)
Florin Amzica, Univ. Laval (Canada)
Réal Vallée, Univ. Laval (Canada)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6343:
Photonics North 2006
Pierre Mathieu, Editor(s)

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