Respiratory tester for measuring blood sugar invented
Researchers have developed a compact 3D-printed sensor that can determine the level of sugar in a person’s blood by the concentration of acetone vapor in his breath.
Today, diabetics have to pierce their skin daily to control glucose. However, a group of scientists from Kiel University and the Technical University of Moldova created an extremely sensitive and energy-efficient device for analyzing various gas vapors. Since the concentration of acetone in respiration correlates with blood sugar, it can be used as a new tester for diabetics.
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In fact, the researchers developed a cost-effective technology for the production of new sensors through 3D printing. On their working surface there are many tiny metal wires with a diameter of about 20 nm, which increase the area of the device and its sensitivity.
Due to the high concentration of protruding nanostructures, gas molecules, when passing, become entangled in this thick of spikes, changing the resistance of the sensor. These small changes can be measured by passing weak electrical signals through nanowires, and then displaying the results on a portable device.
To achieve a high concentration of nanoships, the team heats simple metal microparticles until numerous thin nanowires and nanosolders are formed on them. Then, using specially designed inks, these particles can be applied to various surfaces using a 3-D printer. For production, special conditions are not required, and the structure of the material can be adjusted to a specific gas. It takes a couple of minutes to create multiple sensors simultaneously.
So far, the team is conducting research, but in the future hopes to relieve diabetics of the need for daily painful finger pricking, offering a portable device that will output data to a smartphone.
Perhaps in the near future this problem will cease to be relevant, as recently scientists have been able to cure diabetes in mice, giving hope to millions of people.
, Working Group Functional Nanomaterials