Zinc oxide photocattalysts can be made from a number of different materials.
However, a new study suggests they may be more effective at reducing light-induced damage to the human retina.
The researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, found that zinc oxide photodiodes, which can be produced by using zinc chloride or zinc oxide as a base, could be more efficient than conventional photodilators at preventing damage to photoreceptors and protecting them from light.
“Zinc oxide photodiode materials have been developed as photodetectors but they are not well suited for use in the photo-repair business because they have low photocatalysis activity,” Dr. James Kucera, a professor of biochemistry at UC Irvine and senior author of the study, told Reuters Health.
To address that problem, the researchers made zinc oxide semiconductors from zinc chloride and then used them to coat the retina with a photododimetric layer.
This layer could be coated with the zinc oxide, and the zinc chloride would then be used to coat a different layer of the retina.
“We were able to demonstrate that this combination of zinc oxide and zinc chloride significantly enhanced the photocatabolic activity of zinc-containing zinc oxide-based zinc oxide diode photodimeters,” Kucera said.
While the study didn’t show a direct link between zinc oxide being able to prevent damage to retinal tissue and reducing light damage to human eyes, the authors hope that future research will shed light on how the two might work together.
While zinc oxide has traditionally been used to make photodisplays, it was initially developed as a non-toxic, flexible and lightweight photodiodimodulator, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
According to the agency, zinc oxide is a semiconductor made up of six layers of zinc ions, and its primary purpose is to transfer energy between two electrodes.
Its applications include photo-enhancing, low-cost, and bio-based products, the agency said.