Needle pricks may be a glucose test of the past as people with diabetes may soon be able to use their saliva to test their glucose, according to a new paper published in Nano Letters.  This is a major achievement considering that glucose concentrations in saliva are 100 times lower than those in blood.

Researchers at Brown University developed the new technique that uses nanotechnology and surface plasmonics — the study of interaction between electrons and photons. The new biochip does not measure fluids or chemical compounds, but light waves. The engineers etched thousands of plasmonic interferometers onto a fingernail-sized biochip.

Other chemicals or substances (eg, anthrax or biological compounds) can be detected by this technique, and it may be possible to use the biochips to screen for multiple biomarkers in an individual patient—all at once, with unprecedented sensitivity.