We suggest a novel approach for wide-field imaging of the neural network dynamics of brain slices that uses highly sensitivity magnetometry based on nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers in diamond. Invitro recordings in brain slices is a proven method for the characterization of electrical neural activity and has strongly contributed to our understanding of the mechanisms that govern neural information processing. However, this traditional approach only acquires signals from a few positions, which severely limits its ability to characterize the dynamics of the underlying neural networks. We suggest to extend its scope using NV magnetometry-based imaging of the neural magnetic fields across the slice. Employing comprehensive computational simulations and theoretical analyses, we determine the spatiotemporal characteristics of the neural fields and the required key performance parameters of an NV magnetometry-based imaging setup. We investigate how the technical parameters determine the achievable spatial resolution for an optimal 2D reconstruction of neural currents from the measured field distributions. Finally, we compare the imaging of neural slice activity with that of a single planar pyramidal cell. Our results suggest that imaging of slice activity will be possible with the upcoming generation of NV magnetic field sensors, while single-shot imaging of planar cell activity remains challenging.
Karadas, M., Wojciechowski, A. M., Huck, A., Dalby, N. O., Andersen, U. L., & Thielscher, A. (2018). Feasibility and resolution limits of opto-magnetic imaging of neural network activity in brain slices using color centers in diamond. Scientific Reports, 8(1), . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-22793-w