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Enhanced near infrared optical access to the brain with a transparent cranial implant and scalp optical clearing.


We report on the enhanced optical transmittance in the NIR wavelength range (900 to 2400 nm) offered by a transparent Yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) implant coupled with optical clearing agents (OCAs). The enhancement in optical access to the brain is evaluated upon comparing ex-vivo transmittance measurements of mice native skull and the YSZ cranial implant with scalp and OCAs. An increase in transmittance of up to 50% and attenuation lengths of up to 2.4 mm (i.e., a five-fold increase in light penetration) are obtained with the YSZ implant and the OCAs. The use of this ceramic implant and the biocompatible optical clearing agents offer attractive features for NIR optical techniques for brain theranostics.

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