With the life expectancy of people and the number of illnesses both projected to rise in the future, continuous monitoring of basic human health, and low-cost easily accessible diagnostics and treatment of diseases is of critical importance. This can be achieved with the use of biosensors, which are devices that can transduce the concentration of targeted biomarkers such as electrolytes, metabolites, and hormones in bio-fluids (e.g. blood, sweat, saliva, urine, tear, interstitial fluid) into electrical signal. One classic example of commercially available biosensors is glucose monitoring devices for people with diabetes, which is helping many people maintain their health and avoid potential illnesses. In this manner, the development of biosensors directly impacts people’s quality of life.
Biosensors of various kinds should have the following attributes.
We are using organic and carbon-based materials with novel chemical structures and thin-film crystallinity and morphology, and novel device architectures to enhance the performance parameters mentioned above. One example is the dense alignment of carbon nanotubes to enhance device performance. We are making skin-attachable biosensors with flexible and stretchable components to increase the comfort of users. This will also enable continuous health monitoring. Specifically engineered substrates that ensure firm attachment to skin without irritation are being developed. We are also building wireless communication system to circumvent complex wiring to improve user convenience. Such wireless system will also be used as implantable biosensing platform.