Researchers from the University of Texas and Seoul National University have described their efforts to develop an ultrathin synthetic retina at a meeting of the American Chemical Society (Boston, 19–23 August).
They highlighted that existing silicone-based retinal implants are rigid, flat and fragile, making it difficult to replicate the curvature of the retina. The implants can result in blurry or distorted images.
The scientific team used grapheme and molybdenum disulfide alongside thin layers of gold, alumina and silicon nitrate to create a device that can be tailored to the size and shape of the retina.
The researchers report that the prototype retina is biocompatible and can successfully replicate the structural features of the eye.
Laboratory and animal testing confirmed that photodetectors on the device absorbed light and passed it through to a soft external circuit board.
In the future, the technology could be used in electronic tattoos that are laminated on the skin surface to gather real-time health information.