In what sounds like something straight out of science fiction, a team of researchers injected nanoparticles into the eyes of mice, giving them the ability to see near-infrared light (NIR) as well as visible light.
The nanoparticles the team came up with are designed in such a way that it can anchor well on retinal photoreceptor and serve as a miniature transducer for infrared light.
By the way of the nanoparticles, the infrared light upon entering the retina is coerced to convert into shorter wavelength so that the emitted light falls within the visible spectrum. The adjacent photoreceptor cells then absorb that converted light and relay the information to the brain as if visible light had hit the retina.
According to the researchers, a single shot of nanoparticles can give the mice infrared vision for as long as 10 weeks with nominal side-effects. In the future, the researchers are planning to adjust the emission spectrum of the nanoparticles to work with human eyes.
The report of the study has been published in the journal Cell.