MIT research team publishes advances made in non-invasive transcutaneous blood sugar measurement in diabetes patients using Raman spectroscopy

LEONI Fiber Optics Inc. helps MIT research scientists by providing a complex fiber bundle assembly consisting of 61 fibers

As a non-invasive method for blood sugar measurement, Raman spectroscopy could have the potential to improve – or even help save – the lives of many diabetes patients. By doing away with needles and the associated discomfort for users, the frequency of measuring one’s own blood sugar levels can be increased for a great many patients. As a result, this means that suitable steps can be taken to ensure that blood sugar levels do not become too high or too low. To date, Raman spectroscopy has been able to calculate blood sugar levels only by using complex and indirect statistical methods. Recent lab tests on pigs demonstrate great potential for devices that will be extremely practical in day-to-day use.

The innovative procedure from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) meets the needs of diabetes patients for the continuous monitoring of their blood sugar levels without the pain and discomfort involved in using a pinprick-based method. Above all, this not only leads to better management of the condition but also improves patient quality of life.

Based on Raman spectroscopy, the new device measures glucose concentrations through the skin by irradiating the skin with near-infrared light that penetrates a few millimeters deep and then analyzing how the light is scattered or deflected by subcutaneous tissue. The novelty of this method consists of the fact that, unlike other Raman devices based on techniques using indirect and complex statistical analysis of the signal for glucose monitoring, this device uses more accurate transcutaneous in-vivo monitoring of glucose levels in the body by direct detection and analysis of the spectral signature of the glucose molecule. This is achieved by exciting molecules in the skin at an oblique angle of 60° and then collecting the Raman signal with an explicitly assigned fiber optic bundle that is positioned perpendicularly to the skin.

For this purpose, LEONI constructed a customer-specific linear-to-round fiber bundle consisting of 61 fibers, each of which assigned to specific code. In so doing, LEONI Fiber Optics Inc. again demonstrated its exceptional ability for handling complex fiber-optical assemblies, including patch cords, bundles, arrays and probes, from the design stage to production.

LEONI Fiber Optics Assembly for non-invasive Blood Sugar Testing

Linear Fiber Mapping LEONI Fiber Optics Assembly for non-invasive Blood Sugar Testing

Round Fiber Mapping LEONI Fiber Optics Assembly for non-invasive Blood Sugar Testing

Raman spectroscopy is a highly promising technology for laboratory applications and on the process line. LEONI has set itself the challenge of offering optical fiber solutions that help our customers improve their handling of this complex technology and make it able to improve our day-to-day lives.

The Laser Biomedical Research Center at MIT has spent over 20 years researching sensors based on Raman spectroscopy for glucose. For over a decade, MIT has entrusted crucial development work for a number of research projects to LEONI Fiber Optics Inc.