Photovoltaic retinal prosthesis with high pixel density

Keith Mathieson, James Loudin, Georges Goetz, Philip Huie, Lele Wang, Theodore I. Kamins, Ludwig Galambos, Richard Smith, James S. Harris, Alexander Sher, Daniel Palanker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

210 Citations (Scopus)


Retinal degenerative diseases lead to blindness due to loss of the ‘image capturing’ photoreceptors, while neurons in the ‘image-processing’ inner retinal layers are relatively well preserved. Electronic retinal prostheses seek to restore sight by electrically stimulating the surviving neurons. Most implants are powered through inductive coils, requiring complex surgical methods to implant the coil-decoder-cable-array systems that deliver energy to stimulating electrodes via intraocular cables. We present a photovoltaic subretinal prosthesis, in which silicon photodiodes in each pixel receive power and data directly through pulsed near-infrared illumination and electrically stimulate neurons. Stimulation is produced in normal and degenerate rat retinas, with pulse durations of 0.5–4 ms, and threshold peak irradiances of 0.2–10 mW mm−2, two orders of magnitude below the ocular safety limit. Neural responses were elicited by illuminating a single 70 µm bipolar pixel, demonstrating the possibility of a fully integrated photovoltaic retinal prosthesis with high pixel density.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-397
Number of pages7
JournalNature Photonics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • biophotonics
  • solar energy
  • photovoltaic technology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Photovoltaic retinal prosthesis with high pixel density'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Projects


    • 1 Visiting an external academic institution

    University of Stanford

    Keith Mathieson (Visiting researcher)

    Sep 2009Sep 2011

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesVisiting an external academic institution

    Cite this

    Mathieson, K., Loudin, J., Goetz, G., Huie, P., Wang, L., Kamins, T. I., Galambos, L., Smith, R., Harris, J. S., Sher, A., & Palanker, D. (2012). Photovoltaic retinal prosthesis with high pixel density. Nature Photonics, 6(6), 391-397.