Nanotechnology makes it possible for mice to see in infrared

Nanotechnology makes it possible for mice to see in infrared

Nanotechnology makes it possible for mice to see in infrared

The technology still needs to be fine-tuned but scientists hope to make it suitable for the human eyes.

Scientists in China are giving mice infrared vision.

It may also lead to a revolutionary cure for people who are born colour blind, say the United States and Chinese team.

Illustration of the infrared-to-visible-light conversion process.

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"When light enters the eye and hits the retina, the rods and cones-or photoreceptor cells-absorb the photons with visible light wavelengths and send corresponding electric signals to the brain", explained Gang Han, co-author of the paper and an associate professor at UMass. The particles were created to absorb the longer IR wavelengths and emit the shorter visible wavelengths, which are in turn absorbed by photoreceptor cells that signal the brain.

The mice were able to detect near-infrared light (NIR), as well as normal light, for about 10 weeks without any long-term side effects, the study published Thursday in the science journal Cell found.

An experiment enabled mice to see through near-infrared light using nanoparticles.

Nanotechnology may soon give humans infrared vision, according to a new study that successfully achieved this with mice.

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The researchers tested the nanoparticles in mice, which, like humans, can not see infrared naturally. The nearby rod then absorbs these wavelengths and sends abnormal signal to the brain. They ultimately serve as tiny infrared light transducers that capture the longer infrared wavelengths then emit shorter wavelengths that fall within the visible light range.

Researchers found that those critters receiving injections showed unconscious physical signs of infrared light detection (like pupils constricting), while the control group didn't respond.

To test whether the mice could make sense of the infrared light, the researchers set up a series of maze tasks to show they could see it in daylight conditions, simultaneously with visible light. Although there was a minor side effect (a cloudy cornea), it disappeared within less than a week.

"With this research, we've broadly expanded the applications of our nanoparticle technology both in the lab and translationally", said Han.

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Just imagine the possibilities for humans: No doubt governments would be clamoring to apply this technology to encryption, security, and military operations. Human eyes have a retinal structure called the fovea, which has a much higher density of cones than rods, while mice have more rods than cones. This means journalists are losing the ability to hold the rich and powerful to account. If you can, please show your appreciation for our free content by donating whatever you think is fair to help keep TLE growing.

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