Dutch researcher Sebastiaan Herber has developed a sensor which can detect poor blood circulation in the stomach. A high level of carbon dioxide in the stomach is a characteristic of this so-called gastrointestinal ischaemia. By measuring this concentration the sensor can indicate how good or bad the circulation in the stomach wall is.
The main components of the sensor are a pH-sensitive polymer (hydrogel) and a micro pressure sensor. The polymer contains a large quantity of water and shrinks or swells in response to the changing pH-value. It is sandwiched between the micro pressure sensor and a porous, silicon cover. The cover contains a reservoir with bicarbonate electrolyte, covered by a gas-permeable membrane.
Carbon dioxide flows from the stomach through the gas-permeable membrane into the electrolyte, where it initiates a reaction that lowers the pH-value. The pH-sensitive polymer tries to swell in response to this. However, because it is in a confined space it exerts a pressure which the pressure sensor subsequently measures. Conversely, if the carbon dioxide concentration falls, the pH-value increases and the pressure generated by the polymer decreases.
Sebastiaan Herber | alfa
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