The sensors are made up of three layers stacked on top of one another: a center “bioresponsive” layer that absorbs the nutrients or other chemicals to be detected, and two outer layers containing two square gold rings. Together, the three layers resemble a tiny antenna- collecting and transmitting waves in the radiofrequency field.
Additionally, the sensor can change its “color.” For example, if the central layer interacts with salt or ethanol, the electrical properties shift, causing the sensor to absorb and transmit a different variety of radiofrequency waves with fluctuating force. That is the process in which nutrients and other analytes are detected and measured.
“In theory, we can modify the bioresponsive layer in these sensors to target other chemicals – we are really limited only by our creativity,” said Fiorenzo Omenetto, Ph.D., who is the corresponding author and the Frank C. Doble, Professor of Engineering at Tufts. “We have extended common RFID (radiofrequency ID) technology to a sensor package that can dynamically read and transmit information on its environment, whether it is affixed to a tooth, to the skin, or any other surface.”
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