Context: Perovskite compounds, including lead-lanthanum-zirconium titanate (PLZT), have wide technological application because of their unique physical properties. The use of PLZT in neuro-prosthetic systems, such as retinal implants, has been discussed in a number of publications. Since inorganic lead is a retinotoxic compound that produces retinal degeneration, the long-term stability of PLZT in aqueous biological solutions must be determined. Objective: We evaluated the stability and effects of prolonged immersion of a PLZT-coated crystal in a buffered balanced salt solution. Materials and methods: Scanning Electron Microscopy and Electron Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) using a JEOL JSM 5410 microscope equipped with EDS were utilized to evaluate the samples before and after prolonged immersion. Results: We found that lead and other constituents of PLZT leached into the surrounding aqueous medium. Discussion: By comparing the unit cell of PLZT with that of CaTiO3, which has been found to react with aqueous fluids, Lead is in the same site in PLZT as Ca is in CaTiO3. It is thus reasonable that PLZT will react with aqueous solutions. Conclusion: The results suggest that PLZT must either be coated with a protective layer or is not appropriate for long-term in vivo or in vitro biological applications.
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