Infrared neural stimulation (INS) has been proposed as an alternative method to electrical stimulation because of its spatial selective stimulation. Independent of the mechanism for INS, to translate the method into a device it is important to determine the energy for stimulation required at the target structure. Custom-designed, flat and angle polished fibers, were used to deliver the photons. By rotating the angle polished fibers, the orientation of the radiation beam in the cochlea could be changed. INS-evoked compound action potentials and single unit responses in the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus (ICC) were recorded. X-ray computed tomography was used to determine the orientation of the optical fiber. Maximum responses were observed when the radiation beam was directed towards the spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs), whereas little responses were seen when the beam was directed towards the basilar membrane. The radiant exposure required at the SGNs to evoke compound action potentials (CAPs) or ICC responses was on average 18.9±12.2 or 10.3±4.9mJ/cm 2, respectively. For cochlear INS it has been debated whether the radiation directly stimulates the SGNs or evokes a photoacoustic effect. The results support the view that a direct interaction between neurons and radiation dominates the response to INS.
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