Transcranial photobiomodulation with 1064-nm laser modulates brain electroencephalogram rhythms

Xinlong Wang, Jacek P. Dmochowski, Li Zeng, Elisa Kallioniemi, Mustafa Husain, F. Gonzalez-Lima, Hanli Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Noninvasive transcranial photobiomodulation (tPBM) with a 1064-nm laser has been reported to improve human performance on cognitive tasks as well as locally upregulate cerebral oxygen metabolism and hemodynamics. However, it is unknown whether 1064-nm tPBM also modulates electrophysiology, and specifically neural oscillations, in the human brain. The hypothesis guiding our study is that applying 1064-nm tPBM of the right prefrontal cortex enhances neurophysiological rhythms at specific frequency bands in the human brain under resting conditions. To test this hypothesis, we recorded the 64-channel scalp electroencephalogram (EEG) before, during, and after the application of 11 min of 4-cm-diameter tPBM (CW 1064-nm laser with 162 mW/cm2 and 107 J/cm2) to the right forehead of human subjects (n = 20) using a within-subject, sham-controlled design. Time-resolved scalp topographies of EEG power at five frequency bands were computed to examine the tPBM-induced EEG power changes across the scalp. The results show time-dependent, significant increases of EEG spectral powers at the alpha (8 to 13 Hz) and beta (13 to 30 Hz) bands at broad scalp regions, exhibiting a front-to-back pattern. The findings provide the first sham-controlled topographic mapping that tPBM increases the strength of electrophysiological oscillations (alpha and beta bands) while also shedding light on the mechanisms of tPBM in the human brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number025013
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019


  • electroencephalogram
  • infrared laser
  • low-level light therapy
  • neurophysiological rhythms
  • transcranial photobiomodulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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