Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Materials Science

Committee Chair

Carmen Scholz

Committee Member

Douglas B. Shire

Committee Member

Ramon Cerro

Committee Member

Michael Banish


Thin films., Intraocular lenses., Aluminum oxide--Biocompatibility., Hydrocarbons--Biocompatibility.


Retinal prostheses may be used to support patients suffering from Age-related macular degeneration or retinitis pigmentosa. A hermetic encapsulation of the poly(imide )-based prosthesis is important in order to prevent the leakage of water and ions into the electric circuitry embedded in the poly(imide) matrix. The deposition of amorphous aluminum oxide (by sputtering) and diamond like carbon (by pulsed laser ablation and vacuum arc vapor deposition) were studied for the application in retinal prostheses. The resulting thin films were characterized for composition, thickness, adhesion and smoothness by scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, profilometry and light microscopy. Electrical stability was evaluated and found to be good. The as-deposited films prevented incursion of salinated fluids into the implant over two (2) three month trials soaking in normal saline at body temperature, Biocompatibility was tested in vivo by implanting coated specimen subretinally in the eye of Yucatan pigs. While amorphous aluminum oxide is more readily deposited with sufficient adhesion quality, biocompatibility studies showed a superior behavior of diamond-like carbon. Amorphous aluminum oxide had more adverse effects and caused more severe damage to the retinal tissue.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.