Visual sense is vital for all of us. Blindness has severe negative psychological, social, and economical consequences, and degeneration of photoreceptors is a leading cause of it. Photovoltaic retina implants are the current electronic solution to restore vision loss due to photoreceptor degeneration. Since the state-of-the-art implants are based on photodiodes, which face challenges in terms of miniaturization, efficiency, and compatibility with mechanical and structural properties of the retina, artificial vision still falls short to overcome the legal blindness level. We propose a novel concept of Retinal Mesh Optoelectronics that will simultaneously satisfy (a) high-pixel density for high visual acuity, (b) conformability to match the natural curvature of the retina for optimal vision quality, (c) flexibility for coverage of a large area of the retina for a wide field of view, (d) seamless integration to keep the remaining healthy photoreceptors intact, (e) biocompatibility, (f) usage of safe capacitive current, (g) injectability and (h) removability.
Toward this aim, we will initially develop efficient, thin, and cellular-sized photovoltaic neural interfaces based on quantum dots and nanowires. For that, non-toxic quantum dots that have strong light absorption at near-infrared will be synergized with the nanowires that have unique light-trapping and high surface area for efficient photostimulation of neurons. Then, we will translate these devices to porous and flexible tissue-like retinal implants for artificial vision. Starting from the nanomaterial synthesis to optoelectronic device fabrication and bioelectronic mesh formation, this challenging innovation combining nanomaterials, photonics and abiotic-biotic interfaces will be explored from primary neurons up to in-vivo experimental models of photoreceptor degeneration in order to move the results toward clinical application.
Fields of science
- natural sciencesphysical scienceselectromagnetism and electronicsoptoelectronics
- medical and health sciencesclinical medicineophthalmology
- engineering and technologynanotechnologynano-materials
- medical and health sciencesmedical biotechnologyimplants
- engineering and technologyenvironmental engineeringenergy and fuelsrenewable energysolar energyphotovoltaic
- HORIZON.1.1 - European Research Council (ERC) Main Programme
Funding SchemeHORIZON-AG - HORIZON Action Grant Budget-Based
See on map
See on map