Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


Home > Press > Nanosized diamonds enable progress in retinal prostheses

Research groups in several countries are making progress in retinal prosthesis development. If they achieve their aims, patients who have gone blind, due to loss of their photoreceptors, could recover a better simplified form of vision than with available prostheses. One of the groups shows that diamonds could lead the way.

Nanosized diamonds enable progress in retinal prostheses

EU | Posted on June 17th, 2011

An artificial device in the form of a retinal prosthesis can replace dead photoreceptor cells by electrically stimulating the remaining neurons. Two examples of retinal prostheses are digital camera-type electrode arrays and photodiode arrays. However, they have exhibited low output of electric currents meaning external batteries are needed, low sensitivity and poor biocompatibility.

Researchers at Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan have tried to improve the performance of prostheses through the development of thin and soft photoelectric dye-based retinal prostheses, where the photoelectric dye chosen was not toxic to cells. By using a behavior test, they could see that the subretinal prototype implantation in rats led to recovery of vision. These prostheses absorb light and transform photon energy to produce electric potentials.

Scientists at the University of Tübingen in Germany have recently developed another subretinal prosthesis and tested it on patients. They have managed to show, for the first time, that micro-electrode arrays containing 1500 photodiodes can give previously blind patients a meaningful and detailed visual perception. Through a corresponding pattern of 38 x 40 pixels produced by the chip, one patients could for example read large letters as complete words, localize and approach persons freely and describe different sorts of fruit.

While another team of researchers from Moorfields Eye Hospital, Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, Quinze-Vingts, Second Sight, Retina Foundation Southwest and Johns Hopkins University, has shown for the first time that a large group of blind patients fitted with a retinal prosthesis can identify letters successfully. The patients used the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, but the researchers are working on the third model, increasing the number of electrodes from 60 to 240.

Researchers connected to the European Commission-funded project DREAMS are instead working on new types of nanotransducers, electric devices converting energy from one form to another, based on artificial nanocystalline diamond. The reasons for using diamond to coat the prosthesis are that this semiconductor show stability, biocompatibility and allow for reduced stimulation currents to improve the resolution from 60 pixels, where only shapes and colors can be seen, to 1000 pixels.
The scientists have tested the tiny prosthesis on retinal cells to see that it can replace the photoreceptors and U.S. colleagues have shown that a similar implant in humans can function. However, no clinical trials using the nanodiamond approach have been conducted.

Much more work is needed before any of these retinal prostheses can be widely available to patients, but the achievements made so far mean that thousands of people could be offered the possibility to recover an improved simplified form of vision in a not too distant future.


Elisabeth Schmid
Phone: + 39 02 700 25 72
Fax: + 39 02 700 25 40

Copyright © - EU research Media Center

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Medical and aerospace electronics powered by Picosun ALD November 26th, 2015

Scientists design a QKD-based quantum private query with no failure November 25th, 2015

MIT mathematicians identify limits to heat flow at the nanoscale: New formula identifies limits to nanoscale heat transfer, may help optimize devices that convert heat to electricity November 25th, 2015

Physicists explain the unusual behavior of strongly disordered superconductors: Using a theory they developed previously, the scientists have linked superconducting carrier density with the quantum properties of a substance November 25th, 2015

Possible Futures

New 'self-healing' gel makes electronics more flexible November 25th, 2015

Nanocarriers may carry new hope for brain cancer therapy: Berkeley Lab researchers develop nanoparticles that can carry therapeutics across the brain blood barrier November 22nd, 2015

Quantum Spin Could Create Unstoppable, One-Dimensional Electron Waves: New theory points the way forward to transform atom-thin materials into powerful conductors November 18th, 2015

Pioneering research boosts graphene revolution November 17th, 2015


SUNY Poly Welcomes DPS as the Global Engineering Firm Opens Its U.S. Advanced Technology Group Headquarters at Cutting-Edge ZEN Building November 20th, 2015

Pioneering research boosts graphene revolution November 17th, 2015

University of Leeds Expands Structural Biology with Purchase of Multiple Titan Krios TEMs from FEI November 10th, 2015

Iran Signs MoU to Export Nanodevices to China November 9th, 2015

Personal Care

Ceapro Presents Unique Advantages of Its Disruptive Pressurized Gas Expanded Technology (PGX) at 2015 Composites at Lake Louise November 10th, 2015

Nanofilm Introduces Clarity AR Lens Cleaner for Anti-Reflective Superhydrophobic Lenses August 20th, 2015

Sediment dwelling creatures at risk from nanoparticles in common household products August 13th, 2015

Engineering a better 'Do: Purdue researchers are learning how August 4th, 2015

The latest news from around the world, FREE

  Premium Products
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More

Nanotechnology Now Featured Books


The Hunger Project

Car Brands
Buy website traffic