Made with a laser-modified graphene nanocomposite material, a wearable device can detect specific glucose levels in sweat for three weeks while simultaneously monitoring body temperature and pH levels.

Working at the nanoscale, the researchers reported using a simple laser treatment to create a stable, 3D network of highly conductive noble metal alloys — gold and silver in this case — and carbon-based nanocomposite materials on the porous laser-induced graphene (LIG) electrode. Noble metals are not only highly conductive but are also resistant to oxidation.

In addition to measuring glucose, the modified LIG electrode responded to changes in pH levels, too, according to the researchers. To fabricate the wearable device, they combined the dual glucose and pH sensor with another LIG-based temperature sensor and a stretchable layer with coil-shaped microfluidic channels to continuously collect and route sweat for sampling.

The device allows for the calibration of glucose measurements based on fluctuations in sweat pH and body temperature from activities such as exercise and eating. Worn as a patch roughly twice the width of a postage stamp and affixed to the skin with adhesive tape, it can wirelessly communicate its collected data to a computer or mobile device for real-time monitoring and analysis. (Image credit: Kate Myers/Penn State)

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