Magnetic Patch Cables
In optogenetic experiments with freely moving animals, patch cables can twist and become tangled impairing the movement of the animal and/or breaking the patch cable. This is a concern that we have heard from many customers. Plexon offers several solutions to this problem including a variety of commutators that can be used to prevent the tangling of patch cables. However, space constraints and other variables make incorporating a commutator into some experimental designs difficult.
In response to customer feedback, we developed a simple yet effective solution to this problem; patch cables with magnetic LC ferrules that can be attached to magnetic fiber stubs implanted on the animal’s head. The magnetic junction between the patch cable and fiber stub allows for the patch cable to rotate as the animal moves. As the animal twist and turns, the patch cable spins and this movement prevents the cable from tangling and breaking.
An added benefit of using this combination is the ease of connecting the patch cable and fiber stub. The magnet on the end of the fiber stub attracts the magnet on the tip of a magnetic patch cable, making a secure connection when the two magnets are placed in close proximity to each other.
See this combination in action in this short video showing a remote-control mouse spinning with a magnetic patch cable attached. If you are using patch cables with freely moving animals and have had issues with breaking patch cables, please contact us to learn about incorporating these magnetic patch cables in your experiment.