CHAMPAIGN, Ill. University of Illinois engineers are bringing a touch of color to glucose monitoring.
The researchers developed a new continuous glucose monitoring material that changes color as glucose levels fluctuate, and the wavelength shift is so precise that doctors and patients may be able to use it for automatic insulin dosing - something not possible using current point measurements like test strips.
"There are significant limitations to current continuous glucose monitoring technologies," said study leader Paul Braun, a professor of materials science and engineering at the U. of I. "The systems available today all have some combination of limited sensitivity, limited precision and requirements for frequent recalibration. Using today's systems, you can determine trends in glucose levels, but without frequent recalibration, you don't have the accuracy or reliability to use that to make insulin dosing decisions or to drive autonomous dosing."
The Illinois sensor is made of hydrogel, a soft elastic jelly-like material, laced with boronic acid compounds. Boronic acid binds to glucose, causing the gel to swell and expand as the glucose concentration rises. Embedded within the hydrogel is a photonic crystal made of tiny, carefully arranged beads. A photonic crystal is like a mirror that only reflects one wavelength of light while the rest of the spectrum passes through. As the hydrogel expands, the reflected color shifts from blue to green to red.
See a video of the color change at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXK1-He6IeA.
Researchers have previously explored the possibility of using boronic acid hydrogels for glucose detection, because they are not prone to interference from most factors in the bloodstream. However, they have been met with a specific challenge inherent to the chemistry: Boronic acid likes glucose so much that, if there
|Contact: Liz Ahlberg|
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign