New Mini Solar Cell Implants Help Stimulate Nerve When Activated With Light

Jun, 2022 - By SMI

New Mini Solar Cell Implants Help Stimulate Nerve When Activated With Light

Researchers successfully created and tested a solar cell nerve implant with that stimulates nerves when hit with light pulses

A group of researchers at Graz University of Technology Austria, University of Zagreb and CEITEC Czech Republic developed a new implant and tested this new concept that involves stimulating nerves with light pulses. This method provides significant advantages for medicine and could provide various possibilities for different applications. The technology is triggered by light and was shown in first-of-its-kind lab experiments offering a new means for studying and manipulating the nervous system.

Electric simulations are used for addressing damaged nerves for treating pain or speeding up an injury’s healing process. Such therapies are given using invasive methods where electrodes are placed in the body for administering the electrical stimulation. Now researchers in this new research found a new way of using color pigment that are sensitive to light, for nerve stimulation. Using these pigments the team formed a wafer-thin film having thickness of only few nanometers due to which this film turns the light to an electric charge. The team then pipetted nerve cells on the film and allowed them to develop, from where these cells responded to the electrical charges as they generated electrical impulse of their own, which is known as action potentials allowing communication in different nerve cells.

When tested in lab, the team showed that the nerve cells that are grown on the film can be activated by quick fire light flashes producing action possibilities and stimulating surrounding nerve cells. The team used a red light in this process that penetrates deep into the body and causes no harm and these pigment films can be endured by human cells. According to the scientists, this new technology can be used for treatment of other neurological injuries and pain therapy. However, it requires more work to bring it into clinical use, which could happen in coming two years.

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