UH Engineers Invent Glucose-Sensing Contact Lenses


Tears, many scientists know, have a wealth of information about a person’s body but to understand it or use it and accurately interpret it to the relationship of the chemical composition/status of the body is yet to be established. Even so, a number of researchers, including Google, have found interest in creating methods for using tears to derive information about the human body, including glucose levels. Currently the only method for correctly detecting glucose levels in the body consists of a blood draw and there is great interest in creating noninvasive procedures for it.

University of Houston’s Associate Professor of computer engineering at Cullen College’s NanoBioPhotonics Group and her colleague MD Masud Parvez Arnob, collaborated with Yeon Sik Jung, Jae Won Jeong and Kwang-Min Baek from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Sueng Yong Lee of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology. The results of this cooperation brought about a new technique to create a device that allows for the superior analysis of tears through Surface-enhanced Raman scattering spectroscopy. This miniscule device made from solvent-assisted nanotransfer printing, is created by layering gold nanowires over a gold film. Usually nanofabrication techniques need glass or silicon base but this structure proves for a more flexible substrate. These more malleable substances create for easier wearable use.

This device serves to improve the ability of surface-enhanced Raman scattering spectroscopy. This technique detects small molecular samples’ interaction with light particles to identify them, the device works by focusing the Raman signal onto a concentrated narrower space of the nanostructure being analyzed.

As a holder of two patents on technologies where laser light is used to probe skin tissue to gather information about glucose, Dr. Shih understands that this new device process has the potential for many more applications. This use of it is rather a good proving ground for the technology.

Last Modified: 2016/12/20