Glucose sensing with phenylboronic acid functionalized hydrogel-based optical diffusers

Mohamed Elsherif*, Mohammed Umair Hassan, Ali K. Yetisen, Haider Butt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)
395 Downloads (Pure)


Phenylboronic acids have emerged as synthetic receptors that can reversibly bind to cis-diols of glucose molecules. The incorporation of phenylboronic acids in hydrogels offers exclusive attributes; for example, the binding process with glucose induces Donnan osmotic pressure resulting in volumetric changes in the matrix. However, their practical applications are hindered because of complex readout approaches and their time-consuming fabrication processes. Here, we demonstrate a microimprinting method to fabricate densely packed concavities in phenylboronic acid functionalized hydrogel films. A microengineered optical diffuser structure was imprinted on a phenylboronic acid based cis-diol recognizing motif prepositioned in a hydrogel film. The diffuser structure engineered on the hydrogel was based on laser-inscribed arrays of imperfect microlenses that focused the incoming light at different focal lengths and direction resulting in a diffused profile of light in transmission and reflection readout modes. The signature of the dimensional modulation was detected in terms of changing focal lengths of the microlenses due to the volumetric expansion of the hydrogel that altered the diffusion spectra and transmitted beam profile. The transmitted optical light spread and intensity through the sensor was measured to determine variation in glucose concentrations at physiological conditions. The sensor was integrated in a contact lens and placed over an artificial eye. Artificial stimulation of variation in glucose concentration allowed quantitative measurements using a smartphone's photodiode. A smartphone app was utilized to convert the received light intensity to quantitative glucose concentration values. The developed sensing platform offers low cost, rapid fabrication, and easy detection scheme as compared to other optical sensing counterparts. The presented detection scheme may have applications in wearable real-time biomarker monitoring devices at point-of-care settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2283-2291
Number of pages9
JournalACS Nano
Issue number3
Early online date12 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2018


  • contact lenses
  • diffraction
  • glucose sensor
  • phenylboronic acid
  • photonic microstructures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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