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Advances in Nanomaterials for Brain Microscopy.


Microscopic imaging of the brain continues to reveal details of its structure, connectivity, and function. To further improve our understanding of the emergent properties and functions of neural circuits, new methods are necessary to directly visualize the relationship between brain structure, neuron activity, and neurochemistry. Advances in engineering the chemical and optical properties of nanomaterials concurrent with developments in deep-tissue microscopy hold tremendous promise for overcoming the current challenges associated with in vivo brain imaging, particularly for imaging the brain through optically-dense brain tissue, skull, and scalp. To this end, developments in nanomaterials offer much promise toward implementing tunable chemical functionality for neurochemical targeting and sensing, and fluorescence stability for long-term imaging. In this review, we summarize current brain microscopy methods and describe the diverse classes of nanomaterials recently leveraged as contrast agents and functional probes for microscopic optical imaging of the brain.

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