£1m equipment to improve transplants

Sheffield Hallam University has received new £1m engineering equipment which could help eye transplant recipients.

Thursday, 12th May 2016, 5:00 am

The University’s Materials and Engineering Research Institute has installed the HIPIMS Cluster Tool, which is used to place extremely thin layers of coating onto materials. This includes corneal eye-transplants, which it can cover with a thin layer of electrical-conductive film to enable it to transmit information to the brain leading to better results for transplant recipients. There are currently 3,600 corneal transplants in the UK each year.

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The tool can also be used with materials such as glass to prevent glare, wound dressings to neutralise bacteria or to produce more responsive smartphone screens and technology.

Professor Arutiun Ehiasarian, head of Thin Films Research Centre at Hallam, said, “The technology employed by this equipment means that the coatings produced perform much better than conventional pulsed sputtering. We are also able to explore new areas, such as working with eye-transplants to ensure they can transmit to the brain - which is an exciting new field for us to work in and a potentially very important one.”