Neurophotonics: The role of light in investigating and understanding brain function

Felix Scholkmann, University of Zurich, University Hospital Zurich, Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory, Department of Neonatology, Zurich, Switzerland


My talk will offer an overview of the relatively new research field termed neurophotonics. As I define it, neurophotonics comprises three main research areas: (i) The use of light to measure brain function non-invasively in humans (for example by functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) neuroimaging), (ii) the application of light to modulate brain function, cerebral tissue metabolism and hemodynamics, and (iii) the investigation of the potential role in brain functioning of light produced endogenously by cells and tissue of the brain. I will review the current state of research regarding these three fields of neurophotonics and discuss how neurophotonics can enhance the scientific investigation of human cognition and consciousness.