Wearable plasmonic-metasurface sensor for noninvasive and universal molecular fingerprint detection on biointerfaces

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Science Advances  22 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 4, eabe4553
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abe4553


Wearable sensing technology is an essential link to future personalized medicine. However, to obtain a complete picture of human health, it is necessary but challenging to track multiple analytes inside the body simultaneously. Here, we present a wearable plasmonic-electronic sensor with “universal” molecular recognition ability. Flexible plasmonic metasurface with surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS)–activity is introduced as the fundamental sensing component in a wearable sensor since we solved the technical challenge of maintaining the plasmonic activities of their brittle nanostructures under various deformations. Together with a flexible electronic sweat extraction system, our sensor can noninvasively extract and “fingerprint” analytes inside the body based on their unique SERS spectra. As a proof-of-concept example, we successfully monitored the variation of trace-amounts drugs inside the body and obtained an individual’s drug metabolic profile. Our sensor bridges the existing gap in wearable sensing technology by providing a universal, sensitive molecular tracking means to assess human health.

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