Plexon Engineers Develop Innovative Solution to Improve Optogenetic Research




Commutators are devices commonly used in electrophysiology and optogenetics to allow for simultaneous recording or stimulation in freely moving animals. Commutators work by enabling the rotation of cables that are connected to electrodes or light sources, which allows for continuous data acquisition or stimulation without tangling or damaging the wires. One of our most popular commutators is the Carousel Commutator, which can accommodate up to two digital headstages and two LEDS.

Carousel Commutator

Recently, a customer contacted Plexon with an issue related to their Carousel commutators, which use magnets to attach the LEDs. The customer reported that in some instances, animals were capable of removing the LEDs from the commutator.

Our team of engineers discussed several options for redesigning the commutator and spoke with the lab to better understand the circumstances that led to the issue. After this, they went to work developing a 3D printed piece that could be added to the commutator to prevent animals from removing the LEDs. The piece screws into the bottom of the commutator and wraps around each LED, providing a more secure attachment than just relying on magnets. This solution helps ensure that the LEDs stay in place throughout the experiment and is recommended for labs that are using the commutator with very active freely moving animals.

The development of this solution is a great example of customer-driven innovation. Plexon engineers listened to the needs of their customers and responded with an innovative solution. This commitment to meeting the needs of customers is a key reason why Plexon is a leading provider of electrophysiology and optogenetic equipment.