WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Researchers have created a new type of biosensor that can detect minute concentrations of glucose in saliva, tears and urine and might be manufactured at low cost because it does not require many processing steps to produce.
"It's an inherently non-invasive way to estimate glucose content in the body," said Jonathan Claussen, a former Purdue doctoral student and now a research scientist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. "Because it can detect glucose in the saliva and tears, it's a platform that might eventually help to eliminate or reduce the frequency of using pinpricks for diabetes testing. We are proving its functionality."
Claussen and Purdue doctoral student Anurag Kumar led the project, working with Timothy Fisher, a Purdue professor of mechanical engineering, D. Marshall Porterfield, a professor of agricultural and biological engineering, and other researchers at the university's Birck Nanotechnology Center.
Findings are detailed in a research paper appearing online this week in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.
"Most sensors typically measure glucose in blood," Claussen said. "Many in the literature aren't able to detect glucose in tears and the saliva. What's unique is that we can sense in all four different human serums: the saliva, blood, tears and urine. And that hasn't been shown before."
The paper, featured on the journal's cover, was written by Claussen, Kumar, Fisher, Porterfield, and Purdue researchers David B. Jaroch, M. Haseeb Khawaja, and Allison B. Hibbard.
The sensor has three main parts: layers of nanosheets resembling tiny rose petals made of a material called graphene, which is a single-atom-thick film of carbon; platinum nanoparticles; and the enzyme glucose oxidase.
Each petal contains a few layers of graphene stacked on each other. The edges of the petals have dangling, incomplete chemical bonds, defects where the platinum nanoparticles can attach. Elec
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