Non-invasive bio-sensing assisted by quantum technology

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Chemical and Process Engineering


Context of research:
Diabetes currently affects roughly 422 million people worldwide with 1.5 million deaths reported in 2012. Despite its prevalence, current treatments are limited to frequent glucose monitoring and dietary regulation with tightly controlled amounts of insulin to be admitted throughout the day. This means that the more frequently blood glucose is measured, the better it can be managed. Unfortunately, one of the best ways to measure glucose levels is through direct blood testing, which when performed multiple times a day is a painful and inconvenient method of ensuring blood glucose and insulin regulation.

This project in quantum measurement and quantum metrology at the University of Leeds aims at establishing a new sensing device for the detection of blood glucose concentrations through the skin noninvasively. The principle of sensing is established in a previous research and protected by patents. Quantum optical models to enhance the sensitivity and selectivity of the photonic chip based sensor technique and to design the experiments to test these models are the main objectives of this project. I will be working closely with Quantum Physics and Photonics experts in this project. An important part of the project is fabrication of sensor materials which is essentially atomic layers of rare earth ions on a silica glass. I will use anultrafast laser plasma based manufacturing process to achieve this and optimising it for sensing. Moreover, I will try to enhance the performance of the above quantum bio-sensor through photon correlation measurements and to look into further possible applications of the device.

Aims and Objectives:

1. Build preliminary theoretical quantum optic concepts and to compare their predictions with already available experimental data.
2. Refining the initial theoretical models and carry out measurements of second order photon correlation functions to obtain more insight into the mechanisms of the bio-sensor and its performance.
3. Design novel quantum-enhanced biosensing schemes based on photon correlation measurements and apply that for glucose molecules

Potential applications and benefits:

Any improvements in the novel photonic chip based non-invasive glucose sensor will be beneficial to people with diabetes who rely on daily finger pricking. I will be part of a multidisciplinary industry- university team involved in the non-invasive sensor development. Improvements achieved with my research will lead to new product designs for noninvasive glucose sensor that meets both wearable and medical devices market. I will be working closely with School of Medicine and Health as part of my sensor testing strategy development. The research will provide new physics in the areas of light -biomolecule interaction which can be described using quantum optical models. Results of these theoretical research I will aim to publish in top international peer reviewed journals such as Physical Review A/Physical Review Letters. Advanced experimental results on quantum optical sensor will be suitable for publication in journals such Nature Photonics and Journal of Biophotonics after considering IP protection. I am also aiming to present my results are top photonics conferences such as Photonics West, CLEO US/EU. The methodology developed will be applicable sensing many other biomolecules/makers through skin and will have wide reaching healthcare and economic benefits.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509711/1 30/09/2016 29/09/2021
2115757 Studentship EP/N509711/1 30/09/2018 29/09/2022 Benjamin Harry Dawson
EP/R513295/1 30/09/2018 29/09/2023
2115757 Studentship EP/R513295/1 30/09/2018 29/09/2022 Benjamin Harry Dawson