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Laboratory Tools
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Self-aligning, Multi-targeted Optogenetic Cannula System

SMOCS is a novel tool for optogenetics, an emerging neuroscience technology that can be defined as the integration of optics and genetics to control well-defined events (such as action potentials) within specified cells (e.g., targeted class of projection neurons) in living tissues, such as the brains of freely behaving mammals.

SMOCS, short for Self-Aligning, Multi-Targeted Optogenetic Cannula System, is a neuroscience photonic probe of unique design and functionality. Unlike existing optogenetic cannulas, SMOCS offers a very compact and lightweight solution adaptable to multiple biological species, with its size customized for a particular animal. The system’s fiber-optic cannula is fixed permanently to the skull with the fiber implanted, delivering light to the targeted brain region.

The new design can significantly improve the handling of the perturbation light, achieving fast, spatially controlled, and minimally invasive modulation of cellular activity. As a result, the relevant technology is increasingly being applied across a range of disciplines in many laboratories worldwide.


  • Self-aligning ferrules design; easy, stress-free attachment and disconnect
  • Lightweight, multi-fiber implant, applicable to different sized animals by design
  • Supports different numbers of optical fibers with various cross-sections and lengths


  • Low-cost tool for optogenetics and related methods that changes the way many neuroscience studies are performed, promising the control of neural activity of virtually unlimited specificity, with implications for every area of neuroscience
  • Animal models, such as mice and rats (similar optogenetic techniques are now being used in primates)
  • Future Potential: This technology may have applications in humans for the treatment of blindness, spinal injury, DBS & TMS, Parkinson's disease, addiction, aggression, schizophrenia, autism, and depression


Designs offered free for non-profit research at Flintbox link to the right.

Also available for Commercial License.

Janelia 2012-018

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Tool for an emerging field. Unique, functional.
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Michael Perham
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