Naval Research Lab Examines Nanomaterials for Brain Mapping Initiative

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BrainMapThe U.S. Naval Research Laboratory has developed a method to recruit quantum dot nanoparticles that the lab believes could help scientists map neural connections in the human brain.

The NRL said Nov. 17 its researchers found the photoluminescent QDs that were suppressed by electrical fields during the experiment works to track a membrane action potential with a millisecond time resolution.

The finding “potentially opens the integration of voltage-sensitive nanomaterials into live cells and tissues in a variety of configurations to achieve real-time imaging capabilities not currently possible,” said James Delehanty, a research biologist at the NRL’s Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering.

According to the lab, QDs have photostability and nanosecond fluorescence lifetime characteristics and exhibits low cytotoxicity when the nanomaterial interacts with experimental brain systems.

The study was sponsored by NRL’s Nanoscience Institute and appeared in the Sept. 28 issue of the American Chemical Society’s journal NANO Letters.