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Clin Chem. 2004 Dec;50(12):2353-60. Epub 2004 Sep 30.

Photonic crystal glucose-sensing material for noninvasive monitoring of glucose in tear fluid.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Chevron Science Center, Department of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh Medical School, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.



We recently developed a photonic crystal glucose-sensing material, which consists of a crystalline colloidal array embedded within a polymer network of a polyacrylamide-poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogel with pendent phenylboronic acid groups. The aim of the present work was to improve this approach for application to noninvasive or minimally invasive monitoring of glucose.


We used new boronic acid derivatives such as 4-amino-3-fluorophenylboronic acid and 4-carboxy-3-fluorophenylboronic acid as the molecular recognition elements to achieve sensing at physiologic pH values.


The improved photonic glucose-sensing material sensed glucose in the range of the 100 mumol/L concentrations found in tear fluid. The detection limits were approximately 1 mumol/L in synthetic tear fluid. The visually evident diffraction color shifted across the entire visible spectral region from red to blue over the physiologically relevant tear-fluid glucose concentrations. This sensing material is selective for glucose over galactose, mannose, and fructose.


These new glucose sensors have properties appropriate for use in such glucose-sensing applications as ocular inserts or diagnostic contact lenses for patients with diabetes mellitus.

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