Smartphones can detect Diabetes, Pregnancy and Hazardous Gases using SPR Sensor


Researchers at the University of Hanover,
Germany, have developed a self-contained fiber optic sensor for smartphones with the potential
for use in a wide variety of biomolecular tests, including those for detecting pregnancy
or monitoring diabetes. The readings of the sensor can run through an application on a
smartphone which provide real-time results. When properly provisioned, the smartphone-user
has the ability to monitor multiple types of body fluids, including: blood, urine, saliva,
sweat or breath. In case of medical applications, the sensor readings can be combined with the
GPS signal of a smartphone and users can then be guided to the next drug store, hospital
or the ambulance. The sensor uses the optical phenomenon of
surface plasmon resonance (SPR) to detect the composition of a liquid or the presence
of particular biomolecules or trace gases. Surface plasmon resonance occurs when a fixed
beam of light strikes a metallic film; most of the light is reflected, but a small band
is absorbed by the film’s surface electrons, causing them to resonate.
Surface plasmon resonance is a phenomenon commonly used for biosensing, but typically
requires bulky lab equipment involving both a light detector and light source. Fortunately,
smartphones already have both of these, allowing the minimalist, U-shaped device the researchers
designed to consist solely of a 400-micrometer diameter core multimode fiber with a silver-coated
sensing region.

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