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Amazing!Nano-antenna implanted in the eye, the night will be bright

The sun sets in the west, the night gradually covers the earth, and the lights of thousands of houses are lit one after another, reflecting the street market like day. Radiating from the center of the city, pedestrians are becoming less and less, and the lights on the road are becoming more and more sparse. In remote rural areas, there is not even a trace of light on many small roads, and you can’t even reach your fingers.

Amazing!Nano-antenna implanted in the eye, the night will be bright

“The night gave me a pair of black eyes, but I use them to find light.” For tens of thousands of years, finding light in the dark has always been the dream of human beings. In ancient times, drilling wood to make fire, candles and oil lamps in the farming era, and then the light bulb invented by Edison, the footsteps of human beings have never stopped. Not long ago, new breakthroughs in science and technology may enable humans to have infrared light perception ability, and easily realize night vision without any external light source.

Amazing!Nano-antenna implanted in the eye, the night will be bright

It is reported that this breakthrough is a collaboration between Xue Tian’s research group of the Department of Life Science and Medicine of the University of Science and Technology of China and Han Gang’s research group of the Massachusetts State University School of Medicine, combining visual neurobiomedicine and innovative nanotechnology to realize naked-eye infrared light perception in animals for the first time. and infrared image vision.

Visible and infrared light

The diversity of colors makes the world full of interest. The common ones in our lives are white, black, silver, red, blue, and green, which can be described as colorful. However, the light in nature is far more than what we see with the naked eye. There are also infrared rays (>0.76 μm) with wavelengths greater than visible light and ultraviolet rays (<0.4 μm) smaller than visible light. Humans cannot see infrared light with the naked eye due to the properties of photoreceptor proteins in the eye. In the animal kingdom, only a few species, such as snakes, can detect infrared rays using the temperature receptors of special organs. In order to "see" infrared rays, people have invented infrared night vision devices based on photoelectric conversion and multiplication technology, and realized night vision by technical means.

Amazing!Nano-antenna implanted in the eye, the night will be bright

Infrared night vision device enables human beings to move freely in absolute darkness for the first time, and its birth expands the human visual boundary. However, infrared night vision devices have many drawbacks, such as being bulky, inconvenient after wearing, needing to be powered by a limited battery, possibly being overexposed by strong light, and incompatible with visible light environments. For a long time, except in the military field and some civilian unannounced visits, no one actively wears infrared night vision devices.

Amazing!Nano-antenna implanted in the eye, the night will be bright

In life, when we encounter difficulties, we call the police, but in the field of scientific research, when difficulties arise, it is time for scientists to appear. Textbooks say infrared is invisible, but scientists at the University of Washington School of Medicine have discovered that under certain conditions, the retina can sense infrared. The researchers found that when the laser emits a rapid pulse of infrared light, the photoreceptor cells in the retina sometimes absorb twice as much infrared energy, allowing the human eye to see infrared light outside the visible spectrum.

Amazing Nano Antenna

The discovery at the University of Washington School of Medicine opens up a whole new direction of research, which is to directly stimulate the eye cells of humans or other animals to “see” infrared light without external instruments. Why can’t humans see infrared light? Mainly due to the lower photon energy of infrared light. The solution adopted by the UW team is for the pigment in the retina to project two photons of infrared light with a wavelength of 1,000 nanometers in rapid succession, delivering the same amount of energy as a single photon with a wavelength of 500 nanometers projected at a time.

Amazing!Nano-antenna implanted in the eye, the night will be bright

Xue Tian and Han Gang’s team did the opposite. By changing the energy absorption threshold of the photoreceptor protein in the eye, it is easier for thermal energy to spontaneously stimulate the activity of the photoreceptor protein, enabling infrared light to be seen. Gang Han’s team has been engaged in vision research for many years. A few years ago, they successfully discovered a nanomaterial that can convert near-infrared light into green visible light.

Amazing!Nano-antenna implanted in the eye, the night will be bright

In order to successfully deliver this nanomaterial to the surface of the eyeball, Xue Tian and Han Gang’s team worked together to develop a specific surface modification method, so that the nanoantenna can be tightly connected with specific glycosyl molecules on the surface of the photoreceptor cell membrane, so as to firmly stick to the surface. attached to the surface of photoreceptor cells. The researchers also made the nano-antenna into eye drops and dropped them on the eyeballs of laboratory mice, which allowed them to maintain the ability to perceive infrared rays for about ten days. After a variety of visual neurophysiological experiments, the researchers found that mice can even distinguish complex infrared images. If this nano-antenna technology can be applied to humans, the night in our eyes will be bright.

Amazing!Nano-antenna implanted in the eye, the night will be bright

Amazing!Nano-antenna implanted in the eye, the night will be bright

Around us, there is a group of people who have normal vision during the day, but at night, when there is no light, they can’t see anything, just like they are blind. There is also a group of people who can’t tell the difference between red and green. The former is night blindness, and the latter is color blindness. In daily life, these patients are not in the minority.

Nano-antenna technology may be a savior for these people. Through the change of photon energy, infrared light can be converted into green visible light, various scenes can be clearly seen at night, and the visual perception spectrum defect of red-green color blindness will also be repaired. In addition, there are many applications of nano-antenna visible infrared light technology, such as local sustained release of fundus drugs, light-controlled drug release, etc. Today, this technology is still in the laboratory stage, and it is not known whether it will have side effects in humans. I hope that researchers can work harder and overcome obstacles as soon as possible, so that we can experience the scene of “night is like day”!

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