/Towards photoacoustic (PA) detection of blood glucose in skin with optomechanical ultrasound sensor (OMUS)

Towards photoacoustic (PA) detection of blood glucose in skin with optomechanical ultrasound sensor (OMUS)

Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Exploring the potential of imec's photoacoustic techologies for next generation glucose sensing

Continuous blood glucose self-monitoring (CGM) is a crucial aspect in the daily life of diabetic people whose number has exceeded 500 million worldwide according to the International Diabetes Federation.  

In diabetes management, the development of noninvasive optics-based methods represents the highest ambition as standard glucose monitoring implies uncomfortable measurements requiring frequent skin pricking and implanted needles to access blood matrices. 


Among all the noninvasive optical techniques, photoacoustics (PA) represents one of the most promising sensing methods for the detection of analytes in skin. Unlike other optical techniques, PA can gain molecular information from tissue with “zero background” as it relies on the detection of ultrasonic waves generated by pulsed irradiation of the analyte. After illumination of the tissue at specific wavelengths, light absorption events in the analyte generate soundwaves able to travel undisturbed in optically scattering media (such as skin) which eventually get detected by a transducer in proximity. As such, PA technique could access blood matrices in a noninvasive fashion via pulsed light irradiation and get quantitative glucose estimation via sound detection.   

However, major challenges in this type of detection approach relate to the discrimination of glucose signature among other skin and blood components contributing to the signal, whose accuracy is crucial for the reliability of the sensor. 

The aim of this thesis/internship is to advance the applicability of PA for the detection of blood glucose in skin by using the sensitive opto-mechanical transducer (OMUS) developed at Imec and by progressing data read-out with optimized spectral analyses. Besides contributing experimentally and getting acquainted with the PA technology, the student will explore the development of more advanced analytical methods and algorithms for an accurate glucose signature isolation in complex matrices.   

We are looking for a master student with good analytic and hands-on skills, thinking out of the box capabilities and enthusiastic about working and learning in a multidisciplinary environment.  


For more information on the photoacoustics activities at Imec, have a look at:  




Literature/experiment/analyses: 20% literature, 40% experimental, 40% data analyses.  

Type of project: Combination of internship and thesis

Required degree: Master of Engineering Technology, Master of Engineering Science, Master of Bioengineering, Master of Science

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Lisa Tripodi (Lisa.Tripodi@imec.be) and Hilde Jans (Hilde.Jans@imec.be)

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