Impedance spectroscopy for monosaccharides detection using responsive hydrogel modified paper-based electrodes†
Herein we present a novel sensor for the detection of monosaccharides (e.g. glucose, fructose) in solution, using electrical impedance spectroscopy. The sensor is based on carbon interdigitated electrodes, printed on paper using screen printing. The surface of the electrodes was modified with a thin layer of hydrogel containing acrylamide copolymerised with 20 mol% 3-(Acrylamido)phenylboronic acid (PBA). It was observed that the hydrogel layers containing 20 mol% PBA swell considerably in the presence of glucose and fructose. This in turn changes the measured impedance across the electrodes, making it a suitable sensor for the quantitative detection of saccharides. We investigated the impedance and capacitance variations with different concentrations of glucose and fructose (0–5 mM) in aqueous phosphate buffer solutions. Variations in impedance were attributed to changes in the dielectric properties of the hydrogel under an applied electric field, due to swelling of the hydrogel layer induced by uptake and binding of sugar molecules to the boronate species within the gel. Impedance measurements at 1 kHz demonstrated that hydrogel swelling leads to an increased mobility of ions within the swollen hydrogel layer. The impedance decreased with increasing sugar concentration and the relative capacitance curves are markedly different for fructose and glucose, as the hydrogel exhibits greater swelling in the presence of fructose than glucose over the same concentration range. As the proposed sensor was shown to be suitable for the detection of glucose at concentration levels found in human sweat, future work will focus on the incorporation of these modified paper-based electrodes into wearable skin patches for non-invasive sugar monitoring in sweat.