Conductive plastic may preserve eyesight


A sophisticated medical plastics compound that is sensitive to light is being developed by Italian researchers as a potential treatment for diseases of the retina such as macular degeneration and Retinitis Pigmentosa.

A newly published article documents the use of a single-layer film of poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) to trigger firing of neuron receptors in animals' eyes when it is exposed to light. The results were reported last month in the online journal Nature Photonoics by researchers at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Genoa, Italy.

Polythiophenes become conductive when electrons are added or through doping processes. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Alan J. Heeger, Alan MacDiarmid, and Hideki Shirakawa in 2000 "for the discovery and development of conductive polymers". Potential applications range from solar cells to sensors....
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