Nanotechnology allows mice to see infrared light

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Researchers from China and the U.S. used nanoparticles to enhance the vision of mice, according to a new study published in the journal Cell.

A team of researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China and the University of Massachusetts Medical School injected nanoparticles into the eyes of mice that gave them the ability to see infrared light without compromising their normal vision.

Humans and mice are not able to see infrared light naturally. Both species can only see to light in the visible spectrum.

According to the study, the pupils of the mice that received the nanoparticles injection were constricted. This meant their eyes were able to detect infrared light even during the day. Mice that only received a buffer solution did not have constricted pupils.

Jin Bao, one of the researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China, explained in the study that nanoparticles were able to anchor to the photoreceptor cells in the eyes, also known as the rods and the cones, and convert the infrared light to make it appear as a green color.

The nanoparticles do this by capturing the longer infrared wavelengths and sending out shorter wavelengths in the visible spectrum. This is then absorbed by a rod or a cone, which then sends sends a signal to the brain, tricking the brain into believing that visible light has hit the retina.

This technology could be used in security and military operations in the future, according to the study.

Senior author Tian Xue said in the study this technology is exciting because it could "eventually enable human beings to see beyond our natural capability."

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Syringe, nanoparticles, mice being injected with nanoparticles
2. Pupils of the injected mice becoming constricted
3. Nanoparticles converting infrared light to appear as a green color
4. Nanoparticles capturing infrared rays and turning them into short wavelengths in the visible spectrum

VOICEOVER (in English):
"A research team at the University of Science and Technology of China and the University of Massachusetts Medical School injected nanoparticles into the eyes of mice that gave them the ability to see infrared light without compromising their normal vision."

"Humans and mice are not able to see infrared light naturally. Both species are only limited to light in the visible spectrum."

"According to a study published in the journal Cell, the pupils of the mice that received the nanoparticles injection were constricted."

"This meant their eyes were able to detect infrared light even during the day."

"Mice that only received a buffer solution did not have constricted pupils."

"Jin Bao, one of the researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China, explained in the study that nanoparticles were able to anchor to the photoreceptor cells, also known as the rods and the cones, in the eyes and convert the infrared light to make it appear as a green color."

"The nanoparticles do this by capturing the longer infrared wavelengths and sending out shorter wavelengths in the visible spectrum."

"This is then absorbed by a rod or a cone which then sends sends a signal to the brain, tricking the brain into believing that visible light has hit the retina."

SOURCES: Cell journal, Phys.org
https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(19)30101-1?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0092867419301011%3Fshowall%3Dtrue
https://phys.org/news/2019-02-nanotechnology-mice-infrared.html