Science 2 min read

Scientists use Nanotechnology to Give Mice Infrared Vision

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unoL /

A team of researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China reportedly used nanotechnology to give mice infrared vision, a feat that brings humans a step closer to getting “supervision.”

In their paper, the Chinese researchers described how they enhanced the eyes of the rodents and gave them the capability to see beyond the visible spectrum.

The eyes of the mouse are like human eyes that can only perceive visible light. Unfortunately, visible light occupies only a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Human eyes, on average, respond to wavelengths within the 400 and 700 nanometers range.

Meaning, wavelengths greater than 700 nanometers are no longer visible to us and are classified as infrared.

Giving Mice Infrared Vision

For their experiment, the team developed nanoparticles that can convert infrared light with a wavelength of about 980 nanometers to wavelength detectable by the cells of the eyes.

The nanoparticles were then injected into the inner eyes of the rodents where they attached themselves to the retinal cells. These cells are responsible for converting light to electric signals for the brain.

Since the nanoparticles shifted the infrared wavelength to about 535 nanometers, the mice eyes were able to detect the infrared light, that was once invisible, as green glows.

The scientists assessed the mice eyes by observing their pupils when exposed to light. Typically, human or mouse eyes contract once exposed to visible light to regulate the amount that will pass through them. However, since the mice eyes were injected with nanoparticles, their pupils still contracted when exposed to invisible infrared light.

They also tested the mice with enhanced eyes by letting them traverse through a series of water mazes to see if the rodents could figure out the infrared visual patterns hidden in them. The experiment revealed that the mice with nanoparticles could make out the infrared patterns 80% of the time compared to regular mice.

The scientists believe that since their infrared vision technology is compatible with the human eye, it could open new opportunities for enhancing our eyes and repairing vision impairments.

Read More: New Eye-Drilling Nanopropellers Could Aid In Retinal Disease Treatment

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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