PhD candidate: Ji LIU

Date and place of defence: November 6, 2013 - Li├Ęge University, Belgium.

With over ten million cataract surgeries per year, the intraocular lens market has surpassed $2.5 bn. For making the surgery less invasive and in particular suppressing the suturing step of the patient eye, the lenses must become as thin as possible. Foldable hydrogels based-organic lenses are currently used with some success. However, their thickness reduction is limited by the rather low refractive index of the organic polymers. For overcoming this issue, an original route would consist in the design of a nanocomposite materials based on hydrogels where nanosized inorganic fillers of a high refractive index would be dispersed for increasing the global refractive index while preserving the lens transparency and flexibility. Moreover, if these nanoparticles are magnetic, they could allow the local heating of the nanocomposite materials inducing thermal transitions for either triggering the release of a drug or adjusting in situ the dioptre. The candidate shall use topical chemical and characterization techniques such as controlled/living polymerization, inorganic nanoparticle synthesis and functionalization, drug encapsulation, lens moulding, electron microscopy, optical measurements, controlled release in AC magnetic fields, etc.

Project Partners

ULG - CERM (Center for Macromolecular Research, Liege)

UB1 - ICMCB (Institute for Condensed Matter Chemistry Bordeaux)

PhysIOL, Belgium