The patch clamp method is a way of studying ion channel
s. A glass pipette
with a very small opening is used to make tight contact with a tiny patch of neuronal membrane
. After the application of a small amount of suction to the back of the pipette, the connection between pipette and membrane becomes so strong that no ion
s can flow between the pipette and the membrane. Thus, all the ions that flow when a single ion channel opens must flow into the pipette. The resulting electrical current
can be measured.
Neuroscience, Sinaur Associates (QP355.2.N487 1997)