Company

New glucose-sensing contact lens developed

The University of Houston, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology collaborated on the project.While it is not the first time such technology has been investigated – Google announced a similar project in January 2014 – the researchers claimed their contact lens would have additional applications.Dr Wei-Chuan Shih, a researcher at the University of Houston and one of the authors of the study, explained glucose was a good target for optical sensing, and especially for what is known as surface-enhanced Raman scattering spectroscopy.{{quote-A:R-W:450-I:2-Q: Glucose was a good target for optical sensing, and especially for what is known as surface-enhanced Raman scattering spectroscopy. -WHO:Dr Wei-Chuan Shih, a researcher at the University of Houston and one of the authors of the study}}It was said that the technique – named after Indian physicist Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, who discovered the effect in 1928 – used information about how light interacts with a material to determine the properties of its molecules.The research team’s contact lens included a tiny device, which was built from multiple layers of gold nanowires stacked on top of a gold film and produced using solvent-assisted nanotransfer printing.Traditional nanofabrication techniques rely on a hard substrate – usually glass or a silicon wafer; however the researchers wanted a flexible nanostructure more suitable for wearable electronics.The layered nanoarray was produced on a hard substrate but lifted off and printed onto a soft contact lens.The contact lens device enhanced the sensing properties of the technique by creating ‘hot spots’, or narrow gaps within the nanostructure, which intensified the Raman signal, the researchers said.Although the technology provides a promising solution to current methods of measuring blood sugar levels, which rely on drawing blood, its potential application in the medical field is not yet confirmed.Dr Shih said scientists knew that glucose was present in tears but how tear glucose levels correlated with blood glucose levels had not been established. The more important finding, he said, was that the structure was an effective mechanism for using surface-enhanced Raman scattering spectroscopy.“Everyone knows tears have a lot to mine,” Dr Shih commented. “The question is, whether you have a detector that is capable of mining it, and how significant is it for real diagnostics.”