ERC consolidator grant, PI: Prof. Yael Hanein

In this project we are developing and characterizing highly efficient nanomaterial based platforms suited for future wire-free, light induced retina implants. Our envisioned implants (seen in Figure 1a) are soft, wireless stand-alone polymeric films embedded with photosensitive pixels (dark disks). After exploring different materials, different characterization and optimization methodologies we have been able to realize films that can indeed stimulate blind retinas. Presently we work with Prof. Adiel Barak, a retina surgeon, towards the implementation of these technologies as viable retinal implants.


Figure 1: Artificial implant scheme.

Two novel systems have already been implemented and validated ex-vivo: The first consists of photosensitive pixels made of a three-dimensional matrix of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) decorated very densely with quantum dots (QDs) or nano rods (NRs) (referred to also as quantum rods (QRs)). Light is absorbed and converted into a transient electrical dipole by the QRs/CNTs system. The use of a three-dimensional matrix as well as an optimized selection of QRs, their surface coating, and conjugation procedure contributes to the superior properties of our films.

The second system consists of a polymer bulk heterojunction structure (P3HT:N2200). TiN electrodes were coated with these films and were shown to be able to elicit response in a blind retina in response to optical stimulation. The response is color sensitive and can be implemented on flexible materials.

Compared with other photo-sensitive artificial retinal platforms the two systems we have developed so far are marked by several clear advantages. Foremost is low stimulation threshold.  Second is their biocompatibility, chemical stability and mechanical flexibility rendering the devices improved stability in the tissue.

In the process of achieving these photosensitive films we were able to develop comprehensive characterization methods, to better understand charge transfer mechanisms and to further expand our understanding of these photosensitive systems. All in all we established the groundwork for further development and optimization of nano materials suited for photo stimulation of neurons in compliance with our original plan. 

Selected Scientific Publications:

  1. Direct electrical neurostimulation with organic pigment photocapacitors, David Rand, Marie Jakešová, Gur Lubin, Ieva Vėbraitė, Moshe David Pur, Vedran Derek, Tobias Cramer, Niyazi Serdar Sariciftci, Yael Hanein, Eric Daniel Głowacki, Advanced Materials, In Press, 2018.
  2. A Wearable High-Resolution Facial Electromyography for Long Term Recordings in Freely Behaving Humans, Lilah Inzelberg, David Rand, Stanislav Steinberg, Moshe David-Pur, and Yael Hanein
    Sci. Rep., doi:10.1038/s41598-018-20567-y, 2018, Full Text:Link.
  3. Carbon Nanotube Based Ion Selective Sensors for Wearable Applications, Soumyendu Roy, Moshe David-Pur, and Yael Hanein, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b07346, 2017.
  4. Electrical stimulation of different retinal components and the ef-fect of asymmetric pulses, Dorit Raz-Prag, Giora Beit-Yaakov, Yael Hanein, Journal of Neuroscience Methods, doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2017.07.028, 2017.
  5. Carbon nanotube and semiconductor nanorods hybrids: Preparation, characterization and evaluation of photocurrent generation, Jugun Prakash Chinta, Nir Waiskopf, Gur Lubin, David Rand, Yael Hanein, Uri Banin, Shlomo Yitzchaik, Langmuir, DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.6b04599, 2017.
  6. Carbon nanotube growth inhibition in floating catalyst based chemical vapor deposition and its application in flexible circuit fabrication, Soumyendu Roy, Moshe David-Pur, Hanein Yael, Carbon, 116, 40-49, 2017.
  7. Carbon nanotube electrodes for retinal implants: a study of structural and functional integration over time, Cyril Eleftheriou, Jonas Zimmermann, Henrik Kjeldsen, Moshe David-Pur, Yael Hanein, and Evelyne Sernagor, Biomaterials, 112, 108-121, 2017.
  8. Temporary-tattoo for long-term high fidelity biopotential recordings, Lilach Bareket, Lilah Inzelberg, David Rand, Moshe David-Pur, David Rabinovich, Barak Brandes, and Yael Hanein, Sci. Rep. 6, 25727; doi: 10.1038/srep25727, 2016.
  9. Semiconductor nanorod-carbon nanotube biomimetic films for wire-free photostimulation of blind retinas, Lilach Bareket, Nir Waiskopf, David Rand, Gur Lubin, Moshe David-Pur, Jacob Ben-Dov, Soumyendu Roy, Cyril Eleftheriou, Evelyne Sernagor, Ori Cheshnovsky, Uri Banin and Yael Hanein, Nano Letters, DOI: 10.1021/nl5034304, 2014.  
  10. Glutamate Mediated Astrocytic Filtering of Neuronal Activity, Gilad Wallach, Jules Lallouette, Nitzan Herzog, Maurizio De Pitta, Eshel Ben Jacob, Hugues Berry, and Yael Hanein, PLOS Computational Biology.
  11. Reinforced Carbon Nanotubes as Electrically Conducting and Flexible Films for Space Applications, Nurit Atar , Eitan Grossman , Irina Gouzman , Asaf Bolker , and Yael Hanein, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, DOI: 10.1021/am505811g, 2014. 
  12. Novel Interfaces for Light Directed Neuronal Stimulation: Advances and Challenges, Lilach Bareket-Keren and Yael Hanein, International Journal of Nanomedicine, Int J Nanomedicine. 9, 65–83, 2014. 
  13. A polymer optoelectronic interface provides visual cues to a blind retina, Vini Gautam, David Rand, Yael Hanein and K.S. Narayan, Advanced Materials, DOI: 10.1002, 2013. 
  14. Carbon nanotube based micro electrode arrays for neuronal interfacing: Progress and prospects, Lilach Bareket and Yael Hanein, Frontiers in Neural Circuits, doi: 10.3389, 2013. 
  15. All-carbon-nanotube flexible neuronal electrodes, Moshe David-Pur, Mark Shein, Lilach Bareket, Giora Beit-Ya'akov, Nizan Herzog, Yael Hanein, Biomed Microdevices, DOI 10.1007/s10544-013-9804-6, 2013. 


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