Butterfly wings suggested the idea of ​​an eye implant

The transparent parts of the wings of the so-called glass butterflies practically do not reflect light. At one time, their unique properties were inspired by the developers of non-glare displays. Recently, UCLT PhD assistant Hyuk Cho followed suit.

He developed a tiny drum-shaped eye implant designed to be worn permanently. Its main purpose is to prevent glaucoma. As you know, with glaucoma, pressure on the optic nerve increases, resulting in complete blindness.

Being on the surface of the eye, the implant bends inward under pressure. In this case, the portable external device visually reads the depth of the deflection, while simultaneously determining the pressure force. The idea is for users to be able to test their eyesight while at home.

However, the reader had a serious drawback: it measured the depth of deflection, being strictly perpendicular to the surface of the implant. This is where the butterfly wings come in handy.

For them, the angle of incidence of light does not matter. This is due to the fact that they are covered with tiny pillars 100 nanometers in diameter that are spaced 150 nanometers apart. The bars adjust the direction of the light rays regardless of the angle of their incidence into the perpendicular plane.

Hyuk Cho and his colleagues were able to reproduce this nanostructure on the surface of the implant, reinforcing it with columns of about the same shape and size as on the wings of a butterfly. Inert silicon nitride (Si3N4) was chosen as the material. After a series of experiments, the scientists were able to triple the level of distortion when reading readings from the implant.