Symposium SB05—Light-Matter Interactions at the Interface with Living Cells, Tissues and Organisms
The studies of light-matter interaction are at the heart of many fields of science and technology, which leverage on specific optical properties of materials to route and manipulate light at controlled length scales. Impressive progress has already been made in the fields of photonics and energy (e.g., plasmonics and photovoltaics) and related areas, but exploration of these interactions in the biophysical and biomedical domains is just beginning.
Biophysical signals play an integral role in regulating cellular behavior and in controlling biological functions. Our ability to sensitively probe and modulate biophysical signals at the fundamental level, however, still represents a key challenge given few tools are available. Understanding how to control biology in a precise, non-invasive and high throughput fashion, if successful, would also lead to the development of next-generation biomedical devices.
The use of light as a stimulation tool has emerged in the last decade as an exciting alternative to electrical stimulation, since it allows targeting single cells and even discrete regions of a single cell in a temporally and spatially precise manner offering, at the same time, the opportunity to exploit various excitation geometries. Moreover, light allows decoupling recording from stimulation and avoids the physical contact between the stimulation source and the target cell, thus escaping current problems in the field related to contact impedance and, more generally, to biocompatibility issues.
In this symposium, we will evaluate fundamentals that would place light-matter interactions into the context of bioelectrics and biomechanics. We will highlight recent innovations in optical sensing and stimulation of biophysical activities across multiple lengths scales. Additionally, we will present new materials and devices that can serve an important role in the clinic. We target researchers in material science, optical spectroscopy, chemistry, physics, and engineering. By combining cutting-edge concepts and synergies between research fields this symposium will highlight new approaches in optically-triggered events at the interface with biological systems.