Nanotechnology researchers at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated a tiny, implantable detector that could one day allow diabetics to monitor their glucose levels continuously-without ever having to draw a blood sample.
The work, which is the first application of a whole new class of biological sensors, was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and announced December 12 in the online edition of the journal Nature Materials.
Principal investigator Michael Strano, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Illinois, explains that the new sensors are based on single-walled carbon nanotubes: cylindrical molecules whose sides are formed from a lattice of carbon atoms. The idea is to exploit the nanotubes ability to fluoresce, or glow, when illuminated by certain wavelengths of infrared light-"a region of the spectrum where human tissue and biological fluids are particularly transparent," says Strano.
Mitchell Waldrop | EurekAlert!
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