Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Bionic eye hope blends lasers and gold

Photo credit to Paul Jones
Photo credit to Paul Jones

Abstract:
A novel approach to restoring sight using a ‘bionic eye' is being investigated at Swinburne University of Technology.

The laser stimulation of optic nerves is the focus of this research to develop a vision prosthesis - perhaps a tiny laser device fitted in a pair of spectacles - much like the cochlear implant for restoring hearing.

Bionic eye hope blends lasers and gold

Hawthorn, Australia | Posted on July 12th, 2011

Swinburne's Applied Optics and Biomedical Engineering Groups are seeking government and philanthropic funding to progress this research using gold nanoparticles to amplify laser light.

These microscopic nanoparticles, fixed to optical nerves and assembled to respond to different laser light wavelength, could become the key to restoring vision to people who have lost their sight through degenerative eye disease.

The researchers are looking for a non-contact method of stimulating nerves and are exploring the use of laser light, rather than the direct electrical stimulation techniques that have become the conventional approach.

Using a very low intensity laser source they are trying to generate the right amount of heat required to elicit a response from nerve cells without damaging them.

According to researcher PhD student Chiara Paviolo, the new concept explores the potential for light to deliver far more precise nerve cell stimulation than electrodes.

"Electrodes need an electrical current and so they consequently stimulate a group of nerves," Paviolo said.

"Light, however, allows us to target individual nerves and this should mean more accurate communication of optical signals - an essential outcome if the information delivered to the brain via a prosthesis is to mean anything useful in terms of shapes, colours, dimensions. You don't just want optical ‘noise'."

The initial goal is to successfully bond the nanoparticles to the nerve and then achieve a response to light heat.

Gold nanoparticles are being used because gold is inert, biocompatible and has plasmonic or light-responsive properties. The gold nanoparticles can also be fabricated to respond to different wavelengths, making the interface controllable.

"One of the challenges is to develop nanoparticles that are thermally stable," said Professor of Biointerface Engineering Sally McArthur . "While on one hand heat is necessary, it also has to be limited to avoid damaging cells. Laser heat has long been used in medicine to deliberately kill tissue, but in this instance the opposite result is sought."

To measure and control the heat, the Swinburne team is building a molecular thermal sensor to measure how much heat is produced, so they can then work out how to control it.

The team's ultimate ambition for its technology is a prosthesis that in the first instance will restore vision to people who have lost their sight through retinitis pigmentosis or macular degeneration.

"With these diseases the nerve is still alive, making it a strong candidate for a prosthesis," Paviolo said.

Paviolo said international interest is already building in the Swinburne project because the concept of using light stimulation combined with nanotechnology is novel.

You can help this research progress. To donate to Swinburne's bionic eye research call +61 3 9214 8705 or email

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Lea Kivivali

Department: Media and Communications Unit
Phone: +61 3 9214 5428
Mobile Phone: 0410 569 311

Copyright © Swinburne University of Technology

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.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Relieving electric vehicle range anxiety with improved batteries: Lithium-sulfur batteries last longer with nanomaterial-packed cathode April 16th, 2014

Aerotech X-Y ball-screw stage for economical high performance Planar positioning April 16th, 2014

Energy Research Facility Construction Project at Brookhaven Lab Wins U.S. Energy Secretary's Achievement Award April 16th, 2014

Malvern reports on the publication of the 1000th peer-reviewed paper to cite NanoSight’s Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis, NTA April 16th, 2014

Nanomedicine

Nanobiotix Appoints Thierry Otin as Head of Manufacturing and Supply April 15th, 2014

PAM-XIAMEN Offers UV LED wafer April 15th, 2014

Nanocrystalline cellulose modified into an efficient viral inhibitor April 15th, 2014

Targeting cancer with a triple threat: MIT chemists design nanoparticles that can deliver three cancer drugs at a time April 15th, 2014

Discoveries

Nanocrystalline cellulose modified into an efficient viral inhibitor April 15th, 2014

Tiny particles could help verify goods: Chemical engineers hope smartphone-readable microparticles could crack down on counterfeiting April 15th, 2014

A molecular approach to solar power: Switchable material could harness the power of the sun — even when it’s not shining April 15th, 2014

Targeting cancer with a triple threat: MIT chemists design nanoparticles that can deliver three cancer drugs at a time April 15th, 2014

Announcements

Relieving electric vehicle range anxiety with improved batteries: Lithium-sulfur batteries last longer with nanomaterial-packed cathode April 16th, 2014

Aerotech X-Y ball-screw stage for economical high performance Planar positioning April 16th, 2014

Energy Research Facility Construction Project at Brookhaven Lab Wins U.S. Energy Secretary's Achievement Award April 16th, 2014

Malvern reports on the publication of the 1000th peer-reviewed paper to cite NanoSight’s Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis, NTA April 16th, 2014

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Near-field Nanophotonics Workshop in Boston April 14th, 2014

Scientists in Singapore develop novel ultra-fast electrical circuits using light-generated tunneling currents April 10th, 2014

Preview of Hands-on Nanotechnology Demos at ‘Chemistry of Wine’ Fundraiser to Show Nanotech Magic April 8th, 2014

Quantum Photon Properties Revealed in Another Particle—the Plasmon April 5th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE







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














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE