Posted on Feb 01, 2010, 6 a.m.
University of Florida (US) engineers have designed a tiny new sensor for applications ranging from monitoring diabetics’ glucose levels via their breath to detecting possible indicators of breast cancer in saliva.
University of Florida (US) engineers have designed a tiny new sensor for applications ranging from monitoring diabetics’ glucose levels to detecting possible indicators of breast cancer. Fan Ren and colleagues report the capability of the sensor to detect pH or alkalinity levels in the breath, a technique that could help people who suffer from asthma better identify and treat asthma attacks — as well as calibrate the sensitivity of the glucose sensor. The engineers have used other versions to experiment with picking up indicators of breast cancer in saliva, and pathogens in water and other substances. While the sensor is not as acutely sensitive as those that rely on nanotechnology, it can be mass produced inexpensively with technology already widely used for making chips in cell phones and other devices. The team estimates that the entire wireless-chip package might cost around US$ 40, and that cost could be cut in half with mass production.
Byung Hwan Chu; Kang, B.S.; Chang, C.Y.; Ren, F.; Goh, A.; Sciullo, A.; Wu, W.; Lin, J.; Gila, B.P.; Pearton, S.J.; Johnson, J.W.; Piner, E.L.; Linthicum, K.J. “Wireless Detection System for Glucose and pH Sensing in Exhaled Breath Condensate Using AlGaN/GaN High Electron Mobility Transistors.” IEEE Sensors Journal, Volume 10, Issue 1, Jan. 2010, Pages 64-70; doi 10.1109/JSEN.2009.2035213.