Purdue University Graduate School

Towards Development of Smart Nanosensor System To Detect Hypoglycemia From Breath

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posted on 2020-05-08, 21:07 authored by Sanskar S ThakurSanskar S Thakur
The link between volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from breath and various diseases and specific conditions has been identified since long by the researchers. Canine studies and breath sample analysis on Gas chromatography/ Mass Spectroscopy has proven that there are VOCs in the breath that can detect and potentially predict hypoglycemia. This project aims at developing a smart nanosensor system to detect hypoglycemia from human breath. The sensor system comprises of 1-Mercapto-(triethylene glycol) methyl ether functionalized goldnanoparticle (EGNPs) sensors coated with polyetherimide (PEI) and poly(vinylidene fluoride -hexafluoropropylene) (PVDF-HFP) and polymer composite sensor made from PVDF-HFP-Carbon Black (PVDF-HFP/CB), an interface circuit that performs signal conditioning and amplification, and a microcontroller with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to control the interface circuit and communicate with an external personal digital assistant. The sensors were fabricated and tested with 5 VOCs in dry air and simulated breath (mixture of air, small portion of acetone, ethanol at high humidity) to investigate sensitivity and selectivity. The name of the VOCs is not disclosed herein but these VOCs have been identified in breath and are identified as potential biomarkers for other diseases as well.
The sensor hydrophobicity has been studied using contact angle measurement. The GNPs size was verified using Ultra-Violent-Visible (UV-VIS) Spectroscopy. Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FESEM) image is used to show GNPs embedded in the polymer film. The sensors sensitivity increases by more than 400% in an environment with relative humidity (RH) of 93% and the sensors show selectivity towards VOCs of interest. The interface circuit was designed on Eagle PCB and was fabricated using a two-layer PCB. The fabricated interface circuit was simulated with variable resistance and was verified with experiments. The system is also tested at different power source voltages and it was found that the system performance is optimum at more than 5 volts. The sensor fabrication, testing methods, and results are presented and discussed along with interface circuit design, fabrication, and characterization.


SCH: EXP: Canine-Inspired Smart Sensor for Detecting Hypoglycemia from Human Breath

Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering

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Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering


  • Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

  • Indianapolis

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Mangilal Agarwal

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Andres Tovar

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Sohel Anwar