Optical glucose sensors based on hexagonally-packed 2.5-dimensional photonic concavities imprinted in phenylboronic acid functionalized hydrogel films
Continuous glucose monitoring aims to achieve accurate control of blood glucose concentration to prevent hypo/hyperglycaemia in diabetic patients. Hydrogel-based systems have emerged as a reusable sensing platform to quantify biomarkers in high-risk patients at clinical and point-of-care settings. The capability to integrate hydrogel-based systems with optical transducers will provide quantitative and colorimetric measurements via spectrophotometric analyses of biomarkers. Here, we created an imprinting method to rapidly produce 2.5D photonic concavities in phenylboronic acid functionalized hydrogel films. Our method exploited diffraction properties of hexagonally-packed 2.5D photonic microscale concavities having a lattice spacing of 3.3 μm. Illumination of the 2.5D hexagonally-packed structure with a monochromatic light source in transmission mode allowed reversible and quantitative measurements of variation in the glucose concentration based on first order lattice interspace tracking. Reversible covalent phenylboronic acid coupling with cis-diols of glucose molecules expanded the hydrogel matrix by ∼2% and 34% in the presence of glucose concentrations of 1 mM and 200 mM, respectively. A Donnan osmotic pressure induced volumetric expansion of the hydrogel matrix due to increasing glucose concentrations (1–200 mM), resulted in a nanoscale modulation of the lattice interspace, and shifted the diffraction angle (∼45° to 36°) as well as the interspacing between the 1st order diffraction spots (∼8 to 3 mm). The sensor exhibited a maximum lattice spacing diffraction shift within a response time of 15 min in a reversible manner. The developed 2.5D photonic sensors may have application in medical point-of-care diagnostics, implantable chips, and wearable continuous glucose monitoring devices.