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Lab-made synthetic nerve transmits signal within a microsecond


Key points from article :

Synthetic nerves convey signals over centimeter-scale distances in response to light.

Made from a hydrogel with aqueous droplets at both ends.

A pH change in the first droplet causes to release ATP into the second.

The ATP activates a fluorescent dye, allowing to detect signal transmission from the “presynaptic” to the “postsynaptic” droplet.

“The electrical signal itself is propagated very rapidly,” - Hagan Bayley, corresponding study author.

“Depending on where you shine the light, the signal could move in either direction.”

Researchers were able to collect multiple synthetic axons into a bundle, sending different signal through each axon.

Eventually using such systems as drug delivery devices or as cardiac patches to treat arrhythmia.

Eliminates the need for bulky onboard electronics and batteries.

Long-term goal is to make tissue-like materials that can communicate with biological systems.

Study by University of Oxford published in Nature Chemistry.

Light-driven artificial nerve could one day be used for medical devices or implants to cure diseases

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Professor of Chemical Biology at the University of Oxford


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