Date of Award

Winter 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Eric Guilbeau


With the increasing prevalence of diabetes in the United States and worldwide, blood glucose monitoring must be accurate and reliable. Current enzymatic sensors have numerous disadvantages that make them unreliable and unfavorable among patients. Recent research in glucose affinity sensors correct some of the problems that enzymatic sensors experience. Dextran and concanavalin A are two of the more common components used in glucose affinity sensors. When these sensors were first explored, a model was derived to predict the response time of a glucose affinity sensor using concanavalin A and dextran. However, the model assumed the system was linear and fell short of calculating times representative of the response times determined through experimental tests with the sensors.

In this work, a new model that uses the Stokes-Einstein Equation to demonstrate the nonlinear behavior of the glucose affinity assay was developed to predict the response times of similar glucose affinity sensors. In addition to the device tested by the original linear model, additional devices were identified and tested with the proposed model. The nonlinear model was designed to accommodate the many different variations between systems. The proposed model was able to accurately calculate response times for sensors using the concanavalin A-dextran affinity assay with respect to the experimentally reported times by the independent research groups. Parameter studies using the nonlinear model were able to identify possible setbacks that could compromise the response of thesystem. Specifically, the model showed that the improper use of asymmetrical membranes could increase the response time by as little as 20% or more as the device is miniaturized. The model also demonstrated that systems using the concanavalin Adextran assay would experience higher response times in the hypoglycemic range.

This work attempted to replicate and improve an osmotic glucose affinity sensor. The system was designed to negate additional effects that could cause artifacts or irregular readings such as external osmotic differences and external pressure differences. However, the experimental setup and execution faced numerous setbacks that highlighted the additional difficulty that sensors using asymmetrical ceramic membranes and the concanavalin A-dextran affinity assay may experience.