A graphene-based electrochemical device with thermoresponsive microneedles for diabetes monitoring and therapy

Nat Nanotechnol. 2016 Jun;11(6):566-572. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2016.38. Epub 2016 Mar 21.


Owing to its high carrier mobility, conductivity, flexibility and optical transparency, graphene is a versatile material in micro- and macroelectronics. However, the low density of electrochemically active defects in graphene synthesized by chemical vapour deposition limits its application in biosensing. Here, we show that graphene doped with gold and combined with a gold mesh has improved electrochemical activity over bare graphene, sufficient to form a wearable patch for sweat-based diabetes monitoring and feedback therapy. The stretchable device features a serpentine bilayer of gold mesh and gold-doped graphene that forms an efficient electrochemical interface for the stable transfer of electrical signals. The patch consists of a heater, temperature, humidity, glucose and pH sensors and polymeric microneedles that can be thermally activated to deliver drugs transcutaneously. We show that the patch can be thermally actuated to deliver Metformin and reduce blood glucose levels in diabetic mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental* / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental* / drug therapy
  • Drug Delivery Systems / instrumentation*
  • Electrochemical Techniques / instrumentation
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Gold / chemistry
  • Gold / therapeutic use
  • Graphite / chemistry
  • Graphite / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Metformin / administration & dosage
  • Metformin / therapeutic use
  • Mice
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / instrumentation*
  • Needles
  • Sweat / chemistry
  • Theranostic Nanomedicine / instrumentation


  • Blood Glucose
  • Gold
  • Graphite
  • Metformin