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A&B Sensor Technologies Named as Finalist in the 2014 Business Courier Innovation Awards

A&B Sensor Technologies, founded in 2009 by Anastasios Angelopoulos, College of Engineering and Applied Science Department of Biomedical, Chemical, and Environmental Engineering associate professor, and Jonathan Bernstein, MD, College of Medicine Internal Medicine and Immunology professor, brings unique catalyst-based optical sensing devices to the market.

In particular, the researchers have developed a non-invasive breath analysis method of measuring blood-glucose in diabetics. For this novel device, A&B Sensor Technologies has been named a finalist in the 2014 Business Courier Innovation Awards.

Ohio Senator Eric Kearney (right) tries a UC-developed diagnostic device that provides a breath test for diabetes. With him is Angelopoulos (left).

A&B Sensor Technologies has developed an inexpensive, portable detection device to detect gaseous biomarkers and hazards. Existing detection methods are typically bulky and time intensive, limiting the ability to detect such materials in the home, office or workplace. The company aims to make the method yield instant results, as a real-time device.

The researchers, along with doctoral engineering student Adam Worrall, created a method for the detection of low concentrations of harmful compounds (volatile organic compounds) in the body. This approach uses perfluorosulfonic acid (PSA) polymer membranes as a catalyst that shows color-coded chemical results, called chemselective colorimetric reactions.

These results are ideal for an individual to use at home as they are simple to read and understand. The less intense the color- the lower the blood glucose levels and the greater the color intensity means that blood glucose levels are elevated. The company plans to make a color intensity chart for users to identify their specific levels of blood glucose based on the catalyzed color.

PSA ionomers have been found to work well in the detection of acetone, formaldehyde and various anhydrides in the presence of resorcinol. Through the use of visible light spectroscopy, researchers can selectively detect unique products formed by the reactions. This allows them to determine how much exposure an individual has experienced. Of particular interest to the researchers is the detection of acetone in human breath as the basis for a revolutionary blood glucose monitor.

The researchers have run into a few obstacles. Chief among these is water. Water is the largest single compound in human breath and interferes with acetone measurement as it readily absorbs into the PSA polymer membrane that is acting as the catalyst. This absorption causes swelling and interferes with the optically sensitive results. The researchers solved this problem through the use of an additive which eliminates the effects of humidity on the reaction.

Angelopoulos and Bernstein reflect, “We are honored to have our company be named as a finalist for the 2014 Business Courier’s Emerging Innovative Company. A &B Sensor Technologies represents a true cross-disciplinary collaboration between chemical engineering and clinical medicine to develop sensor devices that address unmet environmental and biomedical needs.

Our company has been able to successfully develop novel technology that utilizes fundamental principles of chemical engineering to develop an array of membrane sensing devices that have direct application for non-invasive monitoring of diabetes and for assessing real-time environmental conditions that can impact safety both in the workplace and home. This nomination is an acknowledgement of the innovative nature of our scientific approach for which we are most grateful.”

The researchers have constructed a prototype and preliminary clinical data has been collected that demonstrates outstanding blood glucose correlations in diabetics. When finished, the actual device will be no bigger than one of our classic flip-top cell phones.

For more information about the diabetes sensor, please visit:

For more information about the UC College of Medicine, please visit:

For more information about the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science, please visit:


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