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Nanotechnology leads to improved retinal implants

By Tim Sandle     Nov 16, 2014 in Science
Tel Aviv - Researchers have developed a new light-sensitive nanotube-based film. The technology could pave the way to more flexible and durable retinal implants.
Scientists have developed a wireless film, built from semiconductor nanorods and carbon nanotubes. The researchers are confident that this technology can improve existing retinal implants. Carbon nanotubes are allotropes of carbon with a cylindrical nanostructure.
To demonstrate this, the scientists tested the device in chick retinal tissue that normally does not respond to light. From this evaluation, the researchers confirmed that the film not only absorbed light, but sparked neuronal activity in response.
Retinal implants that can translate sensory input into neural activation in the vision-impaired have become an increasingly popular way to fight loss of sight, in particular that caused by macular degeneration. The new research presents an important step forwards within this emerging field.
The researchers write: "Photocurrent, photovoltage, and fluorescence lifetime measurements validate efficient charge transfer between the nanorods and the carbon nanotube films. Successful stimulation of a light-insensitive chick retina suggests the potential use of this novel platform in future artificial retina applications.”
The research was conducted by Yael Hanein of Tel Aviv University. The findings have been published in the journal Nano Letters. The paper is titled "Semiconductor Nanorod–Carbon Nanotube Biomimetic Films for Wire-Free Photostimulation of Blind Retinas."
More about Nanotechnology, Retina, Eyes, Vision, Implants
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