For diabetics, spectroscopy may replace painful pinpricks

Oct 25, 2011

Part of managing diabetes involves piercing a finger several times daily to monitor blood sugar levels. Raman spectroscopy could let diabetics monitor glucose without those daily pinpricks. In the past, this would have required a tabletop's worth of equipment. Two former graduate students at MIT's George R. Harrison Spectroscopy Laboratory, Chae-Ryon Kong and Ishan Barman, detail in the AIP's journal AIP Advances how to potentially reduce the overall size of this sensor by making an important part of this equipment smaller.

Their Raman spectrograph works by shining a low-powered laser though the thin fold of skin between the thumb and forefinger. As the laser's photons move through the skin, they strike the vibrating molecules around them. A portion of these photons interact with the vibrating molecules in ways that change their . This is called Raman scattering.

Each type of molecule produces a unique set of energy levels that show up as a spectrum and identify the molecule. Unfortunately, less than one out of one million photons undergoes Raman scattering. So it is important to capture as many scattered photons as possible, then filter out everything but the Raman photons. Optical filters can do this, but they are only effective when the hit them within a narrow range of angles. Previous researchers have used a compound parabolic concentrator (CPC) for this purpose, yet it takes a very large CPC to achieve the high degree of collimation needed.

Kong and Barman turned to a more compact mirror, a compound hyperbolic concentrator (CHC), which uses a lens to focus light into the necessary tight beam. "The new design is from five to 20 times smaller than if we used a CPC to achieve the same performance," Kong said. This development is the first step toward making portable possible. According to Ramachandra Dasari, the lab's associate director, such portable Raman spectrographs could also be used to identify other blood of disease, and to determine if biopsies contain cancerous tissue. The corresponding tests would take about one minute. The current prototype is the size of a shopping cart. "Our next step is to miniaturize this and make it portable," he said. Dasari expects to build a portable prototype over the next couple of years.

Explore further: X-rays probe LHC for cause of short circuit

More information: "A novel non-imaging optics based Raman spectroscopy device for transdermal blood analyte measurement" by Chae-Ryon Kong et al., is published in AIP Advances.

Provided by American Institute of Physics

4.7 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New device for patients to monitor blood glucose levels

Aug 09, 2010

People with type 1 diabetes must keep a careful eye on their blood glucose levels: Too much sugar can damage organs, while too little deprives the body of necessary fuel. Most patients must prick their fingers ...

Mass weddings -- NIST's new efficient 2-photon source

Apr 12, 2007

For a variety of applications in physics and technology, ranging from quantum information theory to telecommunications, it’s handy to have access to pairs of photons created simultaneously, with a chosen ...

Shedding new light on cancer

Jan 22, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers at the University of St Andrews have developed a powerful technique that could allow earlier cancer detection.

Recommended for you

X-rays probe LHC for cause of short circuit

Mar 27, 2015

The LHC has now transitioned from powering tests to the machine checkout phase. This phase involves the full-scale tests of all systems in preparation for beam. Early last Saturday morning, during the ramp-down, ...

New insights found in black hole collisions

Mar 27, 2015

New research provides revelations about the most energetic event in the universe—the merging of two spinning, orbiting black holes into a much larger black hole.

Swimming algae offer insights into living fluid dynamics

Mar 27, 2015

None of us would be alive if sperm cells didn't know how to swim, or if the cilia in our lungs couldn't prevent fluid buildup. But we know very little about the dynamics of so-called "living fluids," those ...

Fluctuation X-ray scattering

Mar 26, 2015

In biology, materials science and the energy sciences, structural information provides important insights into the understanding of matter. The link between a structure and its properties can suggest new ...

Hydrodynamics approaches to granular matter

Mar 26, 2015

Sand, rocks, grains, salt or sugar are what physicists call granular media. A better understanding of granular media is important - particularly when mixed with water and air, as it forms the foundations of houses and off-shore ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.