MSc thesis project proposal

[2017] LED+Electrode Array for Local Optogenetic Stimulation and Recording

Project outside the university

in collaboration with the Neuroscience Dept. at ErasmusMC
The field of neuroscience attempts to unravel the mysteries of the brain. One of the methods used to discover the unknowns that the brain holds, is by performing animal experiments. In the case at hand, the experimental animals are genetically modified mice. By means of optogenetics, which is a state-of-the-art technique in brain stimulation, the mouse's brain can be stimulated. Then, by recording and registering the neuronal activity, the effects of the local stimulation of the brain can be investigated.

An example of localized stimulation is the following: stimulating the upper half of the thalamus while the lower half is not being stimulated, or vice versa. Obtaining the result of the effect of these stimulations is possible by locally recording the electrical activity of the neurons involved.
Therefore, to perform precise local stimulation, it is vital that each micro-LED on the LED array used for the optogenetic stimulation only emits light into the areas that are not covered by the emission of the other LEDs.
Moreover, to accurately capture the effects of the stimulation, recording electrodes are required that are able to record the neural activity exactly and only at the area stimulated by the active LED.


For this research assignment, the object of study is stimulation and recording of the thalamus in mice. A mouse's thalamus has a vertical length of less than 1.5 mm. Therefore, the stimulation must occur within this area. This, in turn, implies that the LED+recording array must contain all the LEDs and recording points within this area. Hence, micro-machining is required to fabricate the LED+Electrode arrays.

Students will work on microfabrication and enjoy a very fruitful collaboration with the Neuroscience Department in Rotterdam.


MSc student in Biomedical Engineering or Microelectronics with affinity to microfabrication. The student must have attended/completed Active Implantable Biomedical Microsystems (EE4555).


dr. Vasiliki Giagka

Bioelectronics Group

Department of Microelectronics

Last modified: 2017-01-23