Biochip Detects Glucose Levels in Saliva

January 23, 2012 – 4:36 pm

The schematic shows glucose molecules “dancing” on the sensor surface illuminated by light with different colors. Changes in light intensity transmitted through the slit of each plasmonic interferometer yield information about the concentration of glucose molecules in solution. Credit: Domenico Pacifici

For patients with diabetes, checking glucose levels by drawing blood can be uncomfortable, inconvenient and painful. Several companies are attempting to develop painless, noninvasive glucose tests, but so far, none have been successful in introducing one to the market. As the number of diabetics continue to grow, this market is a highly lucrative one.

Now, researchers at Brown University have developed a biochip that measures glucose concentrations in saliva, a technique they say could eliminate the need for diabetics to draw blood to check their glucose levels. The technique incorporates nanotechnology and surface plasmonics (the interaction of electrons and photons).

The researchers etched plasmonic interferometers onto a biochip. They then measured the concentration of glucose molecules in water on the chip. The biochip could detect glucose levels similar to the levels in human saliva, levels that are about 100 times less concentrated than in the blood. The approach could also also be used to test for other substances.

Read more in the Brown University press release.

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