A Single-walled Carbon Nanotube Based Optical Sensor for Continuous in vivo Glucose Detection

Technology #14887

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SWNT modified with glucose binding protein and polyvinyl alcohol changes fluorescence in response to glucose binding.SWNT modified with boronic acid and for glucose detection.
Professor Michael Strano
Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
External Link (srg.mit.edu)
Paul Barone
The Center For Biomedical Innovation, MIT
External Link (cbi.mit.edu)
Jin Ho Ahn
Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
Kyungsuk Yum
Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
Thomas McNicholas
Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
Managed By
Jon Gilbert
MIT Technology Licensing Officer
Patent Protection

Photoluminescent nanostructure-based sensors

US Patent Pending US 2013-0035567
Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube-Based Near-Infrared Optical Glucose Sensors toward In Vivo Continuous Glucose Monitoring
Journal of Diabedes Science and Technology, Volume 7, Issue 1, January 2013


This device can be used as a single-walled carbon nanotube glucose sensor.

Problem Addressed

The current technology allows for continuous, in vivo glucose monitoring using an inexpensive, small-scale device.


29 million people in the United States are currently affected with Diabetes, one of the leading causes of death, with 1.6 million new cases being diagnosed each year. Current treatment involves monitoring of glucose levels in the patient’s body. The basic glucose-monitoring device in use today uses a finger-glucose monitor and has certain disadvantages. These include pain associated with the finger stick and the discontinuous nature of the information provided. With such devices a patient must rely on few single-point measurements taken throughout the day to monitor blood glucose levels. As a result, there is a need for a real-time, continuous blood glucose monitor. Current in vivo sensors of biological compounds involve a sensor material that interacts with an analyte, forcing changes in absorption or luminescence properties upon exposure to a light source. However, these methods are expensive, require high resolution and involve use of bulky equipment.  In the current device, a single-walled carbon nanotube is combined with an analyte binding group, a glucose-binding protein or boronic acid, in such a way that the fluorescence or luminescence is altered when glucose interacts with it.


  • Continuous, in vivo detection
  • Inexpensive compared to state of the art
  • Avoids use of bulky equipment