Glucose Detection using Near Infrared Fluorescent Single Walled Carbon Nanotube Nanosensors

Technology #16761

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Proposed wrapping geometry of different PBAs on a SWNT
Professor Michael Strano
Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
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Thomas McNicholas
Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
Jiyoung Ahn
Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
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Jon Gilbert
MIT Technology Licensing Officer
Patent Protection

Saccharide responsive optical nanosensors

PCT Patent Application WO 2015-191389

Saccharide responsive optical nanosensors

US Patent Pending US 2017-0131287
A Structure–Function Relationship for the Optical Modulation of Phenyl Boronic Acid-Grafted, Polyethylene Glycol-Wrapped Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes
JACS, 2012, 134 (42), pp 17620–17627


  • Glucose sensor

Problem Addressed

This technology provides a sensitive, fast and continuous saccharide sensor with enhanced selectivity towards glucose.


A novel method for surface coating of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) for analyte binding and sensing is proposed.  Blood glucose detection is of critical importance for patients suffering from diabetes mellitus, a disease currently effecting 347 million people worldwide. Developing reliable, sensitive and durable sensors with which individuals can monitor and control the potential life-threatening effects of this disease remains a heavily researched topic. Here, a nanosensor is proposed, comprised of a novel composition of phenylboronic acid polymer complexed with SWNT. This polymer is formed using reversible addition forward chain transfer polymerization and is used to impart water solubility and saccharide sensitivity to individual SWNT fluorophores. Furthermore, this sensing mechanism is confirmed as occurring nearly instantaneously, as is demonstrated by transient measurements. The selectivity of these complexes is distinct from that of free boronic acid moieties. Moreover, polymers having different phenylboronic acid derivatives and molecular weights can impart distinct saccharide or other analyte binding profiles when coupled to SWNT. As such, this complex represents an intriguing new class of sensors, which may be utilized for blood glucose monitoring or other diagnostic sensing applications.


  • Long lifetime
  • Continuous monitoring
  • Glucose-specific binding
  • Modifiable for selective binding of different analytes