Capabilities for recording neural activity in behaving mammals have greatly expanded our understanding of brain function. Some of the most sophisticated approaches use light delivered by an implanted fiber-optic cable to optically excite genetically encoded calcium indicators and to record the resulting changes in fluorescence. Physical constraints induced by the cables and the bulk, size, and weight of the associated fixtures complicate studies on natural behaviors, including social interactions and movements in environments that include obstacles, housings, and other complex features. Here, we introduce a wireless, injectable fluorescence photometer that integrates a miniaturized light source and a photodetector on a flexible, needle-shaped polymer support, suitable for injection into the deep brain at sites of interest. The ultrathin geometry and compliant mechanics of these probes allow minimally invasive implantation and stable chronic operation. In vivo studies in freely moving animals demonstrate that this technology allows high-fidelity recording of calcium fluorescence in the deep brain, with measurement characteristics that match or exceed those associated with fiber photometry systems. The resulting capabilities in optical recordings of neuronal dynamics in untethered, freely moving animals have potential for widespread applications in neuroscience research. © 2018 National Academy of Sciences.All Rights Reserved.