The patch clamp method is a way of studying ion channels. 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 ions 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)