A new study has identified a super power of human eye to see invisible infrared light.
Scientists found that under certain conditions the eye’s retina would be able to react differently and consequently sense infra-red light which is beyond what traditionally considered as visible spectrum.
The super power of the eye appears when pairs of photons combine their energies to make the invisible visible, according to the study published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Analyzing cells from the retinas of mice and people uncovered that when powerful lasers emit pulses of infra-red light rapidly, light-sensing cells in the retina sometimes get a double hit of infrared photons.
“We’re using what we learned in these experiments to try to develop a new tool that would allow physicians to not only examine the eye but also to stimulate specific parts of the retina to determine whether it’s functioning properly,” said senior investigator Vladimir J. Kefalov, who is associate professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at Washington University.
Human vision depends on photons of light triggering cells in the retina, known as photoreceptors.
The light-sensitive pigments in photoreceptors become active only by visible wavelengths of light.
The investigators propose that the pigments may be activated by longer infrared wavelengths of light when they receive two photons at a time.
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