"Bionic" Eye

Task Leader:Professor Nai Juan Wu at naijwu@uh.edu

Ceramic optical detectors based on the photo-ferroelectric effect are being developed for direct implantation into the eyes of patients with retinal dystrophies. In retinal dystrophies where the optic nerve and retinal ganglia are intact (such as Retinitis Pigmentosa), direct retinal implant of an optical detector to stimulate retinal ganglia could allow patients to regain some sight. In such cases additional wiring to the brain cortex is not required, and for biologically inert detectors, surgical implantation can be quite direct. The detector currently being developed for this application jointly with the University of Texas Health Science Center is a thin film ferroelectric detector, which under optical illumination can generate a local photocurrent and photovoltage. The local electric current generated by this miniature detector excites the retinal neural circuit resulting in a signal at the optic nerve that may be translated by the cortex of the brain as "seeing light". Detectors based on PbLaZrTiO3 (PLZT) and BiVMnO3 (BVMO) films exhibit a strong photoresponse in visible range overlapping eye response from 380 nm to 650 nm. The thin film detector heterostructures have been implanted into the eyes of rabbits for biocompatibility test, and have shown no biological incompatibilities. Optical response test are in progress.

Dr. Ali Zomorrodian: Research Scientist
Jake Fan: Research Assistant

Related Bionic Eye Publications

Space Vacuum Epitaxy Center
Web Spinner: Dave Moore WebSpinner@SVEC.UH.edu

Last modified: 06 Sep 2001