Infrared neural modulation (INM) is a label-free method for eliciting neural activity with high spatial selectivity in mammalian models. While there has been an emphasis on INM research towards applications in the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system (CNS), the biophysical mechanisms by which INM occurs remains largely unresolved. In the rat CNS, INM has been shown to elicit and inhibit neural activity, evoke calcium signals that are dependent on glutamate transients and astrocytes, and modulate inhibitory GABA currents. So far, in vivo experiments have been restricted to layers I and II of the rat cortex which consists mainly of astrocytes, inhibitory neurons, and dendrites from deeper excitatory neurons owing to strong absorption of light in these layers. Deeper cortical layers (III-VI) have vastly different cell type composition, consisting predominantly of excitatory neurons which can be targeted for therapies such as deep brain stimulation. The neural responses to infrared light of deeper cortical cells have not been well defined. Acute thalamocortical brain slices will allow us to analyze the effects of INS on various components of the cortex, including different cortical layers and cell populations. In this study, we present the use of photoablation with an erbium:YAG laser to reduce the thickness of the dead cell zone near the cutting surface of brain slices. This technique will allow for more optical energy to reach living cells, which should contribute the successful transduction of pulsed infrared light to neural activity. In the future, INM-induced neural responses will lead to a finer characterization of the parameter space for the neuromodulation of different cortical cell types and may contribute to understanding the cell populations that are important for allowing optical stimulation of neurons in the CNS.