Development of a robust optical glucose sensor

Date of Completion

January 1990


Engineering, Biomedical|Health Sciences, General|Physics, Optics




The long term objective of this research was the development of a noninvasive, optically-based, polarimetric sensor to monitor in vivo glucose concentrations. The goal of diabetes therapy is to approximate the 24-hour blood glucose profile of a normal individual. There have been major advances in the development of reliable, versatile, and accurate pumps for the delivery of insulin to diabetic patients and in the development of control algorithms for closed-loop insulin delivery, however, there remain major obstacles to the development of clinically useful, continuous glucose sensors. The development of an accurate noninvasive glucose sensor would have significant application in the diagnosis and management of diabetes mellitis both in conjunction with, and independent of, the glucose pump controller applications.^ The linear polarization vector of light routes when it interacts with an optically active material such as glucose. The amount of rotation of polarization is directly proportional to the glucose concentration and to the path length. The ability to quantitate blood glucose levels for the limited available path length in our primary sensing site, namely, the anterior chamber of the eye, therefore depends on the signal-to-noise ratio of the polarization detector.^ Our primary research focused on the development and testing of a prototype optical polarimetry system using D + glucose solution in a test cell, as well as using an enucleated human eye to assess the sensitivity of the system to measure physiologic glucose levels for the approximate one centimeter path length present in the anterior chamber of the eye. Our research has led to the development of a true phase technique in which helium neon laser light was coupled through a rotating linear polarizer along with two stationary linear polarizers and two detectors to produce reference and signal outputs whose amplitudes varied sinusoidally and whose phase was proportional to the rotation of light caused by the glucose solution. ^