The Retina is a 2-Dimensional Moire Pattern of Light Detection Centers

by Gerald Huth on February 21, 2006

The basic premise of this work is that the retina is structured as a logically spaced, 2-dimensional periodic array of light detection centers. How did this evolve? The specific periodicity that is identified leads to an understanding of the underlying physics principles that evolutionarily led to this structure…and I propose that the morphology of the retina is actually a 2-dimensional moire pattern objectification that resulted from the incidence of unpolarized light..onto primordial biological substance.

I have referenced (see my previous Comment 0f 2/6/06 “Evolution and the Retina – An Experiment”) the result in optical physics that the wavelength of light impinging onto a surface is reflected laterally (i.e., orthogonally or transversely) to the direction of incidence onto that surface. This is not intuitive as it might be expected that it is the intensity of light and not wavelength that should be so reflected. In this phenomenon an optical “grating” is formed on the surface whose period exactly corresponds to the wavelength of the impinging light beam. In these experiments the light beam is plane polarized and a one-dimensional structure (i.e., a grating) is formed.

Now, what might happen if the light beam were not plane polarized but consisted of unpolarized or randomly polarized light? Isn’t it logical that the periodic nature of the resulting structure would be maintained but in “circularized” two-dimensional form? Such a structure would be composed of an array of circles whose periodicity might correspond to the wavelength of the impinging light. This corresponds exactly to the array as described in this work of circular retinal receptors – the cones and rods! Thus, I posit that these biological light interactive structures were evolutionarily formed by this mechanism. The periodic “optical antenna” structures that I have proposed correspond to the periodicity inherent in this line of thought..logically spaced (wavelength defined) arrays of periodic, “absorbing mass” centers (quantum confined electron sites).

I have proposed that it is the dimensionality of the array of the larger cone receptors that specifically defines the ~700 nm, long wavelength limit of the visible band (why nature chose this particular wavelength I leave for others to consider). Geometrically, such an array of circles of the same size results in hexagonal order. Cone receptors are close packed in this manner so that for a single wavelength it might be said that hexagonal order seems to be the fundamental nature of things.

If one goes on to consider the array of rod receptors that comprise the bulk of the retina, the same mechanism is operative although the periodicity (and thus receptor size) is correspondingly smaller due to the shorter light wavelength. Rod periodicity therefore corresponds to the short wavelength limit of visual response at ~400 nm with, again, the receptors being hexagonally ordered ( I have proposed that the 400 nm wavelength is dictated by the energy of light – any sensitivity to shorter UV wavelengths would result in damage to the biological system).

Now the overall organization of the retina can be described as a radially distributed array of receptors where the hexagonal order of smaller rods begins to “intrude upon”, and become admixed with, the hexagonal order of the larger central cones. At some point in this intrusion there is a point where rod density is sufficient to completely surround each cone. In the human retina this occurs at retinal angles between 7 and 8 degrees (as measured from the central fovea). I have discussed at some length the octagonal spatial order that results at this point noting that (refer to my “Rosetta Stone” diagram) this radius geometrically defines the exact mid-band point of the visible band.

(I have also noted a number of other strange geometric factors following from the distribution and sizes of retinal receptors, namely that octagonal symmetry of rods-around-cones that results at this point and that the same symmetry seems to be present in the visual organs of many (perhaps all?) species as reported in the work of Snyder).

From the viewpoint of this discussion, however, octagonal order at this point is not in the least bit strange but is rather a seemingly logical geometric result of the intermixing of two receptor sizes.

Thus both of the endpoints and the exact enter of the visible band of vision are defined by physics and simple geometric principles.

The realm of semiconductor physics may provide a way to demonstrate the validity of the above projections.



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Jim August 30, 2007 at 6:09 am

Nice blog !

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