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Artificial Retinas Using Graphene Called Biocompatible

MUNICH, Aug. 11, 2014 — Viable artificial retinas could be possible using graphene.

Researchers from the Technical University of Munich, in collaboration with a team from the Institute of Vision at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris and Pixium Vision, are developing such a device, in which graphene forms the link to the optical nerve.

Graphene possesses the flexibility (among other unique properties) needed for projects such as the creation of artificial retinas. Courtesy of Natalia Hutanu/Technical University of Munich.

The researchers cited graphene’s thinness, transparency and tensile strength, and said its flexibility and chemical durability make it biocompatible.

In a study, the researchers said, graphene provided an efficient interface between a prosthetic retina and the body’s nerve tissue.

Retinal implants have been found to convert incident light into electrical impulses that are transmitted via the optical nerve to the brain, where they are transformed into images, the researchers said.

Similar devices exist today, but are often rejected by the body. Also, the researchers said the signals that other devices transmit to the brain are not optimal.

This study is part of the European Commission’s Future and Emerging Technologies Initiative and its Graphene Flagship Program.

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