Nanotransducers for wireless neuromodulation

Xiuying Li, Hejian Xiong, Nicholas Rommelfanger, Xueqi Xu, Jonghae Youn, Paul A. Slesinger, Guosong Hong, Zhenpeng Qin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Understanding the signal transmission and processing within the central nervous system is a grand challenge in neuroscience. The past decade has witnessed significant advances in the development of new tools to address this challenge. Development of these new tools draws diverse expertise from genetics, materials science, electrical engineering, photonics, and other disciplines. Among these tools, nanomaterials have emerged as a unique class of neural interfaces because of their small size, remote coupling and conversion of different energy modalities, various delivery methods, and mitigated chronic immune responses. In this review, we will discuss recent advances in nanotransducers to modulate and interface with the neural system without physical wires. Nanotransducers work collectively to modulate brain activity through optogenetic, mechanical, thermal, electrical, and chemical modalities. We will compare important parameters among these techniques, including the invasiveness, spatiotemporal precision, cell-type specificity, brain penetration, and translation to large animals and humans. Important areas for future research include a better understanding of the nanomaterials-brain interface, integration of sensing capability for bidirectional closed-loop neuromodulation, and genetically engineered functional materials for cell-type-specific neuromodulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1484-1510
Number of pages27
Issue number5
StatePublished - 5 May 2021


  • magnetic stimulation
  • nanotransducers
  • neuromodulation
  • optical stimulation
  • trasound modulation


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