Digital Micromirror Devices


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Applications in optogenetics

[1] [1]

[2] Deep-brain/cortical single-cell resolution optogenetic stimulation in freely-behaving animals.

[3] Cortex-wide targeted optogenetic stimulation in head-fixed animals.

[4] Multi-region single-cell resolution optogenetic stimulation in freely-behaving animals..

[5] Single-cell resolution optogenetic stimulation and slice electrophysiology

[6] Researchers at the University of Toronto use Mightex's Polygon patterned illuminator to target individual neurons with optogenetic stimulation. For more details, please read "Simultaneous Optogenetic Stimulation and Electrophysiology Recordings Using a Dual Camera Microscopic System".

DMD-based illumination systems

Custom Systems

Modifying a DMD-based projector for multiwavelength patterned illumination

Sakai et al. [2] show how to use a DMD videoprojector to create patterns of light using an upright microscope. Check the page DLP_Projection.

Build your own DMD-based photostimulation device

The lab of Rainer Friedrich has published a Nature Protocols paper showing how to build a DMD-based photostimulation device from scratch. The device is particularly well suited for stimulating small isolated preparations such as zebrafish larvae.

  • Download the paper here.

The lab of Cha-Min Tang has published a JOVE protocol showing the design and implementation of a DMD-based system and integration on an upright microscope. Optical design and implementation are discussed as well as examples of using the system to uncage glutamate on hippocampal pyramidal neurons.

  • Access the JOVE protocol [1].

Commercially Available Systems

The "Mosaic" system by Andor Technology

The Andor Mosaic 3 system utilizes a DMD to allow for precision photon patterning and sequencing of complex regions of light in the spatial and temporal domains. The system has 4 GB of onboard memory (FPGA) that allows users to upload patterns directly to the DMD head allowing for physiological patterning of light and sequencing.

The system is adaptable to any current generation microscope and each microscope has a patented flat field corrected epi port ensuring very flat field of illumination. The Mosaic 3 can be integrated with most available light sources, including LEDs, traditional Hg lamps, and a variety of lasers can be incorporated.

The Andor Mosaic 3 Duet system allows for simultaneous two color illumination. For instance, Orion Weiner and colleagues have used this system to simultaneous activate PIF-2 (phytochrome) at 650nm in specific regions while at the same time delivering 750nm light to inactivate (Levskaya et al. 2009 - Nature) [2].

Polygon400 Patterned Illuminator by Mightex Systems

Polygon400 multiwavelength patterned illuminators from Mightex Systems.
System diagram showing Mightex's Polygon400 installed on an upright microscope.

Mightex's Polygon400 Patterned Illuminators are designed for advanced bioscience research applications that require precise spatial, temporal, and spectral control of light. The Polygon400 is particularly valuable for cellular-resolution optogenetics in vivo and/or in slice, as the Polygon400 provides researchers with the ability to turn on/off select cells with specific wavelengths of light (e.g. 470nm for ChR2, or 590nm for NphR). Unlike wide-field illumination that illuminates all cells, the Polygon400 allows researchers to precisely target select cellular or sub-cellular features such that researchers will have much better control of neuronal activity.

The Polygon400 can be easily mounted on a wide-range of upright and inverted microscopes (e.g. Leica, Nikon, Olympus, Zeiss) using available microscope adapters. Furthermore, the Polygon400 is compatible with Mightex’s OASIS Macro/Micro and OASIS Implant platforms, for performing patterned illumination in awake head-fixed or freely-moving animals, respectively.

With a USB interface and user-friendly software PolyScan, Polygon400 is extremely easy to install and to operate. Polygon400 is also supported by Nikon's NIS Elements software and MicroManager. Furthermore, the Polygon400 can be easily synchronized with electrophysiological equipment and external TTL devices to synchronize experimental recordings and illumination.

For a list of customer references, please see here.

Here are some examples of the latest publications using the Polygon400:

(1) Gomati et al. et al. “Differentiating Cerebellar Impact on Thalamic Nuclei”, Cell Reports, May 2018;

(2) Dine et al. et al. “Protein Phase Separation Provides Long-Term Memory of Transient Spatial Stimuli”, Cell Systems, May 2018;

(3) Oboti et al. et al. “Amygdala Corticofugal Input Shapes Mitral Cell Responses in the Accessory Olfactory Bulb”, eNeuro, May 2018;

(4) Van Haren et al. "Local control of intracellular microtubule dynamics by EB1 photodissociation", Nature Cell Biology, January 2018;

(5) Andrási et al. “Differential excitatory control of 2 parallel basket cell networks in amygdala microcircuits”, PLOS Biology, May 2017;

(6) Shimizu & Stopfer, “A Population of Projection Neurons that Inhibits the Lateral Horn but Excites the Antennal Lobe through Chemical Synapses in Drosophila”, Frontiers in Neural Circuits, May 2017;

(7) Johnson et al. “The Spatiotemporal Limits of Developmental Erk Signaling”, Developmental Cell, January 2017;

(8) Butler et al. "Intrinsic Cornu Ammonis Area 1 Theta-Nested Gamma Oscillations Induced by Optogenetic Theta Frequency Stimulation", The Journal of Neuroscience, April 13, 2016.


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  1. Error fetching PMID 19898486: [Guo2009]
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All Medline abstracts: PubMed HubMed