2D Material-Based Artificial Retinas to Enhance Implant Technology


Artificial retinas can be used to track heart and brain activity along with restoring vision to millions of people

Scientists developed the ultrathin artificial retina that could improve on existing implantable visualisation technology for the blind. The flexible 2D material-based device could restore sight to the millions of people with retinal diseases. With further modifications, the device could be used to track heart and brain activity.

The researchers demonstrated it for the first time where they used few-layers of graphene and molybdenum disulfide to fabricate an artificial retina. Well, the research is still in its initial stage and is believed to be a starting point to restore vision.

2D materials to create a sensor array

The researchers used 2D materials, thin layers of gold, alumina and silicon nitrate to create a flexible and high-density sensor array. The device resembles the surface of a flattened soccer ball that conforms to the size and shape of a natural retina without mechanically disturbing it.

In a laboratory, photodetectors on the device absorbed light and passed it through a soft external circuit board. The circuit board housed all the electronics needed to digitally process light, stimulate the retina and acquired the signals from the visual cortex.

Based on this principle, the researchers determined that this prototype of artificial retina is bio-compatible and mimics the structural features of the human eye. They told that it could be an important step in the quest to develop the next-generation of soft bio-electronic retinal prostheses.

Moving ahead, the researchers are exploring ways to integrate this technology into mechanically and optically imperceptible electronic tattoos. These tattoos will be laminated on the skin surface to gather health information. They are also planning to add transistors to this transparent e-tattoo to help amplify signals from the brain or the heart to be monitored and treated.