Forecast Calls for Nanoflowers to Help Return Eyesight: Physicist Leads Effort to Design Fractal Devices to Put in Eyes, University of Oregon Study

Published: May 06, 2011

University of Oregon researcher Richard Taylor is on a quest to grow flowers that will help people who've lost their sight, such as those suffering from macular degeneration, to see again. These flowers are not roses, tulips or columbines. They will be nanoflowers seeded from nano-sized particles of metals that grow, or self assemble, in a natural process -- diffusion limited aggregation. They will be fractals that mimic and communicate efficiently with neurons. Fractals are "a trademark building block of nature," Taylor says. Fractals are objects with irregular curves or shapes, of which any one component seen under magnification is also the same shape. In math, that property is self-similarity. Trees, clouds, rivers, galaxies, lungs and neurons are fractals, Taylor says. Today's commercial electronic chips are not fractals, he adds.

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