Non-contact sub-nanometer measurement of transient surface displacement during action potential propagation

Taner Akkin, Digant P. Davé, H. Grady Rylander, Thomas E. Milner

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We have demonstrated non-contact, sub-nanometer optical measurement of neural surface displacement associated with action potential propagation without applying exogenous chemicals or reflection coatings. Signals recorded from crayfish leg nerve using a phase-sensitive optical low coherence reflectometer show that transient neural surface displacement due to action potential propagation is approximately 1 nm in amplitude and 1 ms in duration. Measured optical signals are coincident with electrical action potential arrival to the optical measurement site. Recent experiments indicate signals with similar amplitude and duration are observed in response to repetitive fast stimulation (200 stimuli/s).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number68
Pages (from-to)408-411
Number of pages4
JournalProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
StatePublished - 2005
EventCoherence Domain Optical Methods and Optical Coherence Tomography in Biomedicine IX - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 23 2005Jan 26 2005


  • Action potential
  • Interferometer
  • Neural activity
  • Phase sensitive
  • Surface displacement
  • Swelling


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