Tb3+-doped fluorescent glass for biology

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Science Advances  06 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 2, eabd2529
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd2529


Optical investigation and manipulation constitute the core of biological experiments. Here, we introduce a new borosilicate glass material that contains the rare-earth ion terbium(III) (Tb3+), which emits green fluorescence upon blue light excitation, similar to green fluorescent protein (GFP), and thus is widely compatible with conventional biological research environments. Micropipettes made of Tb3+-doped glass allowed us to target GFP-labeled cells for single-cell electroporation, single-cell transcriptome analysis (Patch-seq), and patch-clamp recording under real-time fluorescence microscopic control. The glass also exhibited potent third harmonic generation upon infrared laser excitation and was usable for online optical targeting of fluorescently labeled neurons in the in vivo neocortex. Thus, Tb3+-doped glass simplifies many procedures in biological experiments.

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