An optical nerve stimulation system for optically stimulating and locating a nerve, includes: a laser radiation source positioned adjacent to the nerve and configured to deliver laser radiation to the nerve through one or more optical fibers, thereby heating it; wherein the laser radiation source is operated in a continuous-wave mode; and a temperature sensor positioned adjacent to the nerve and a feedback loop configured to control the laser radiation source such that a predetermined temperature is maintained. The laser radiation source is one or more of an infrared laser and a near-infrared laser. Optionally, the laser radiation has a wavelength of between 1400 and 1900 nm. The one or more optical fibers are one or more single-mode fibers. The ONS probe includes one or more SMFs with chemically-etched tips and lenses for providing collimation and/or beam shaping to provide a flat-top spatial beam profile.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
 The present invention was made, in part, with the support of the U.S. Government pursuant to Department of Defense Award No. PC073709 and Department of Energy Award No. DE-FG02-06CH11460. Accordingly, the U.S. Government may have certain rights in the present invention.