Significance: Recent advances in nonlinear optics in neuroscience have focused on using two ultrafast lasers for activity imaging and optogenetic stimulation. Broadband femtosecond light sources can obviate the need for multiple lasers by spectral separation for chromatically targeted excitation.
Aim: We present a photonic crystal fiber (PCF)-based supercontinuum source for spectrally resolved two-photon (2P) imaging and excitation of GCaMP6s and C1V1-mCherry, respectively.
Approach: A PCF is pumped using a 20-MHz repetition rate femtosecond laser to generate a supercontinuum of light, which is spectrally separated, compressed, and recombined to image GCaMP6s (930 nm excitation) and stimulate the optogenetic protein, C1V1-mCherry (1060 nm excitation). Galvanometric spiral scanning is employed on a single-cell level for multiphoton excitation and high-speed resonant scanning is employed for imaging of calcium activity.
Results: Continuous wave lasers were used to verify functionality of optogenetic activation followed by directed 2P excitation. Results from these experiments demonstrate the utility of a supercontinuum light source for simultaneous, single-cell excitation and calcium imaging.
Conclusions: A PCF-based supercontinuum light source was employed for simultaneous imaging and excitation of calcium dynamics in brain tissue. Pumped PCFs can serve as powerful light sources for imaging and activation of neural activity, and overcome the limited spectra and space associated with multilaser approaches.