Recently, the official website of the University of Science and Technology of China announced that by injecting a nano-material into mice, mammals could see the invisible infrared light for the first time in history, and infrared light detection was widely used in night vision devices. Some netizens said that human beings realized the dream of night vision with eye drops. In this regard, Professor Bao Jin of the University of Science and Technology of China, who participated in the experiment, said that although the principle of the experiment can be used in human eyes in theory, it still needs to go through the ideological and ethical review to achieve human eye night vision, so there is still a long way to go. Experts involved in the experiment said that the team planned to conduct further experiments on dogs. It is understood that although night vision eye drops are still far from reach, but this discovery is expected to bring about color blindness eye drops
For the first time in the world, Chinese and American scientists let mice see infrared light
Many people have done this experiment when they were young. When a beam of sunlight passes through a prism, it changes from red to purple. These lights are called visible light. In fact, besides the seven-color light, there are more light invisible to the naked eye. Some of the light whose wavelength is longer than the red light is called infrared light or infrared light. For humans who have been able to expand their horizons into the universe, seeing the infrared light around us has always been an elusive dream.
Mice injected with nanomaterials rarely remain exposed to infrared light.
Recently, human beings have taken a big step towards realizing this dream. The official website of the University of Science and Technology of China announced that Professor Xue Tian of the Department of Life Science and Medicine of the University of Science and Technology of China and Professor Han Gang of the Medical College of Massachusetts State University in the United States have cooperated to realize the first time of animal naked infrared light perception and infrared image vision by injecting nanomaterials into the retina of mice. Sense of ability. Because the working principle of infrared night vision instrument is to detect and perceive infrared light to achieve the effect of night observation, some netizens saw the discovery and thought that human beings could use eyedrops to night vision in the future.
Did Night Vision Eye Drug really come out? A reporter from Beiqing Daily interviewed Professor Bao Jin, co-author of the study.
In the water maze, the mice gradually learned that the rescue platform was situated in a pattern composed of specific infrared light.
Professor Bao Jin introduced that the discovery was partly the result of chance coincidence. Previously, Xue Tian, Executive Dean of the College of Life Sciences of China University of Science, and Professor Han Gang of Massachusetts State University, who is engaged in new materials research, learned about a nanomaterial that can change the wavelength of infrared light. In subsequent experiments, Xue Tian, who has been engaged in visual research for a long time, wondered whether this nanomaterial could be applied to animal retinas so that animals could see infrared light. So scientists used a syringe to inject nanomaterials into the retina of mice.
The experiments of light-dark box and water maze made mice speak
After all, mice are not human beings. It is impossible for scientists to tell themselves whether they have seen infrared light. So how can mice talk?
Professor Bao Jin said that in the experiment, scientists injected a drug containing new nano-materials into the retina of mice and observed the effect of infrared light on the brain waves of mice. When mice without nano-materials were exposed to infrared light, their brain waves hardly changed, indicating that they did not feel any difference in consciousness. When mice injected with nano-materials were irradiated with infrared light, they could see. Brain waves in mice produced changes similar to those seen in visible light. The brain waves of the mice talked.
Mice injected with nanomaterials actively swim to access to life-saving platforms.
In addition, in the paper, scientists compared the pupil response of mice to visible and infrared light. The pupils of mice without nano-materials were almost unchanged when they were exposed to infrared light. The pupils of mice injected with nano-materials responded significantly to infrared light.
These reactions suggest that mice injected with nanomaterials do respond to visible light. Bao Jin said that the nanomaterials used in this experiment can shorten the wavelength of infrared light. In the eyes of mice, they see a green image. The reason for choosing green is that animals react strongly to green.
In another experiment, called a light and dark box, scientists divided a box into two parts, leaving only a small hole in the middle, with no light on one side of the hole. This dark place was a favorite environment for mice, and infrared light was placed on the other side of the hole. In the experiment, mice that had not injected nanomaterials shuttled back and forth on both sides of the hole for almost the same length of time. Mice injected with nanomaterials were significantly less likely to linger on the side with infrared light, which proved once again that mice injected with nanomaterials felt infrared light.
But the experimenters wanted to go further, just as severe myopia could feel whether it was day or night outside. Sensing light and seeing clear images are two different concepts. We want to know if mice can see images. So how do we get the mice to open their mouths and say if they see any images?
Experiments continue or bring good news to color-blind people.
Bao Jin admits that a series of experiments to verify whether mice can see images is the most difficult step in the whole research process, which lasted about half a year. Eventually, scientists designed a set of experiments called water maze in which mice were placed in a water tank. The mice would swim desperately to avoid drowning, but the water in the tank was dyed white, so that the mice could not see a life-saving platform hidden under the water surface.
In the water tank, there are two channels, each channel has a pattern illuminated by infrared light. In each experiment, the hidden rescue platform is located under the fixed pattern. With repeated experiments, the mice quickly learned that the rescue platform is located at the fixed pattern. Therefore, no matter which channel the experimenters put the pattern and platform in, the mice can always find the correct channel accurately. And rescue platform.
Since then, the experimenters have changed the pattern of infrared light many times, and the mice can make the same response in the experiment. The reaction of mice proves that after injecting nanomaterials, they can really distinguish the pattern of infrared light.
Bao Jin said that the current experiment is to transform infrared light into green, in practice, it can also be changed into other colors. In theory, the mice see the transformed green, which is different from the normal green or some differences. For example, it seems that the green trees after infrared light conversion will look darker than the normal green trees. But whether mice can distinguish the difference between the two needs further verification.
Mice undergoing a water maze experiment
Bao Jin said that although the structure of the human retina is very similar to that of the mouse retina, the technology can theoretically be transformed into human beings, there is still a long way to go to realize this dream: Needless to say, whether human beings really need night vision function, even if they really want to do this experiment, they also need to pass the ideological and ethical review before they can carry out it.
Han Gang, who participated in the experiment, also said in an interview with the media that the nanomaterials are theoretically effective for humans, and the team plans to conduct further experiments on dogs. Compared with wearing the existing infrared night vision device, the conventional vision of the human eye will be affected differently, Han Gang said. Experiments show that the new material can sense infrared light while maintaining the conventional vision. About 10 weeks later, the ability to see at night disappeared, and the normal vision of the mice was not affected.
Bao Jin said that at present, the new technology is expected to provide some patients with color blindness with tremendous help. In a sense, we cant see infrared light is also a kind of color blindness. The technology of turning infrared light into visible light can also turn the light that people with color blindness cant see into the light they can see. From this point of view, this technology is expected to bring about eye drops of color blindness.