LONDON: A study by the researchers has found a self contained fiber optic sensor for smartphones which can be used in a large variety of biomolecular tests that also includes detecting pregnancy or monitoring diabetes.
The real time results of the reading in the sensor can be run through the application in the smartphones.
"When properly provisioned, the smartphone-user has the ability to monitor multiple types of body fluids, including: blood, urine, saliva, sweat or breath," researchers from the University of Hanover, Germany said.
The sensor works on the optical phenomenon of Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) which occurs when the light causes electrons on the surface of a thin film to jostle to detect the composition of a liquid or the presence of particular biomolecules or trace gases.
"We have the potential to develop small and robust lab-on-a-chip devices for smartphones. So, surface plasmon resonance sensors could become ubiquitous now," said the co-author of the study, Kort Bremer.
In medical applications, the censor readings can be combined with the Global Positioning System (GPS) signal of a smartphone and users can then be guided to the next drug store, hospital or the ambulance.
Commonly used for biosensing, Surface Plasmon generally requires bulky lab equipments involving light detectors and light sources.
Coincidently smartphones have both these allowing the minimalist, U-shaped device the researchers designed to consist solely of a 400-micrometer diameter core multimode fibre with a silver-coated sensing region.
In certain experiments the sensitivity of the device could be tested by using various concentrations of glycerol, and the team had confirmed that it was at the same level with current equipments in a fraction of cost and size.