Loss of eyesight, often caused by retinal degeneration, is a common ailment as people age. Research published late last week in the American Chemical Society (ACS) journal Nano Letters shows that great progress has recently been made toward countering this life-changing adverse event.
An interdisciplinary team from Tel Aviv University, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Newcastle University has combined semiconductor nanorods and carbon nanotubes to create a wireless, light-sensitive, flexible film that could potentially act in place of a damaged retina. When tested on a chick retina that was not light-sensitive, they found that it absorbed light and sparked neuronal activity.
The research team, led by Professor Yael Hanein from Tel Aviv University, highlighted that there are a growing range of medical devices with the ability to treat conditions – including visual impairment – that involve sending sensory signals to the brain. But many of these devices are bulky, metal, or low resolution and the team sought to develop something more compact.
In comparison to other technologies, the researchers have conclude that theirs is more durable, flexible and efficient, as well as better able to stimulate neurons.
The authors received funding from the Israel Ministry of Science and Technology, the European Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.