Cambridge researchers are developing responsive, color-changing diagnostic holograms. Silver nanoparticles are formed into three dimensional holograms of predetermined shapes in a fraction of a second using a single laser pulse. They will be used for portable medical tests and devices, to monitor diabetes, cardiac function, infections, electrolyte or hormone imbalance easily,inexpensively, and non-invasively.
The ‘smart’ holograms can be used to test blood, breath, urine, saliva or tears for a wide range of compounds, such as glucose, alcohol, hormones, drugs, or bacteria. When one of these compounds is present, the hologram changes color, potentially making the monitoring of various conditions as simple as checking the color of the hologram against a color gradient. Clinical trials of the holographic sensors to monitor glucose levels and urinary tract infections in diabetic patients are currently underway.