Interfacing organic electronics with biological substrates offers new possibilities for biotechnology by taking advantage of the beneficial properties exhibited by organic conducting polymers. These polymers have been used for cellular interfaces in several applications, including cellular scaffolds, neural probes, biosensors and actuators for drug release. Recently, an organic photovoltaic blend has been used for neuronal stimulation via a photo-excitation process. Here, we document the use of a single-component organic film of poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) to trigger neuronal firing upon illumination. Moreover, we demonstrate that this bio–organic interface restores light sensitivity in explants of rat retinas with light-induced photoreceptor degeneration. These findings suggest that all-organic devices may play an important future role in subretinal prosthetic implants.
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The authors thank M. Nanni, G. Pruzzo and F. Succol for technical advice and M. dal Maschio and P. Baldelli for help with data interpretation and discussions. The authors also thank A.J. Heeger, P. Greengard, L.M. Chalupa and L. Maffei for critical reading of the manuscript. The research was supported by the FP7-PEOPLE-212-ITN (‘OLIMPIA’ grant #316832), the Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (‘Multidisciplinary Projects’) and Telethon – Italy (GGP12033 grant to G.L., F.B. and S.B.). The authors also acknowledge support from M. Monti and by R. and I. Munari Gloder. The manuscript was revised by the American Journal Experts editing organization.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Ghezzi, D., Antognazza, M., Maccarone, R. et al. A polymer optoelectronic interface restores light sensitivity in blind rat retinas. Nature Photon 7, 400–406 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2013.34
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