Research ArticleBIOPHYSICS

Graphene biointerfaces for optical stimulation of cells

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Science Advances  18 May 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 5, eaat0351
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat0351

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Noninvasive stimulation of cells is crucial for the accurate examination and control of their function both at the cellular and the system levels. To address this need, we present a pioneering optical stimulation platform that does not require genetic modification of cells but instead capitalizes on unique optoelectronic properties of graphene, including its ability to efficiently convert light into electricity. We report the first studies of optical stimulation of cardiomyocytes via graphene-based biointerfaces (G-biointerfaces) in substrate-based and dispersible configurations. The efficiency of stimulation via G-biointerfaces is independent of light wavelength but can be tuned by changing the light intensity. We demonstrate that an all-optical evaluation of use-dependent drug effects in vitro can be enabled using substrate-based G-biointerfaces. Furthermore, using dispersible G-biointerfaces in vivo, we perform optical modulation of the heart activity in zebrafish embryos. Our discovery is expected to empower numerous fundamental and translational biomedical studies.

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