The field of optogenetics currently relies on invasive means to deliver light to cells and tissue. A novel, non-invasive approach has been identified in the combination of a penetrative light source and a local light-converting material. A methacrylate-functionalized anthracene has been synthesized to provide a polymerizable fluorescent material. Anthracene-methacrylate has a high quantum efficiency and is visibly fluorescent under soft x-ray irradiation. This material was copolymerized with methyl-methacrylate to produce a model system so the scintillating properties could be tuned. Copolymers of varying ratios were characterized. Visible x-ray fluorescence is observed in the polymers. Copolymers are biocompatible with neurons, and the emission profile of the anthracene-methacrylate overlaps the excitation profile of their light-activated ion channel. Future in vitro studies will test the ability of the material to induce a potential change in neurons through the down-conversion of x-rays.

© 2018 The Author(s)

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