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Development of sodium level monitor using chemiluminescence quantification to prevent excess sodium intake

People in the modern world are susceptible to high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases, which are caused by overconsumption of sodium. Being aware of sodium intake levels is useful in adjusting the amount of sodium in our diets. While various devices are available to monitor sodium concentration in urine, they are too expensive and bulky for everyday use. This study aimed to develop a sodium monitor that is portable and easy to use. A silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) driving circuit for chemiluminescence quantification and a module embedded with the measurement algorithm were developed.

Development of core module for sodium level monitoring through urine samples

Sodium plays an important role in the human body. A certain level of sodium is essential to maintain body temperature, and to ensure the smoothing functioning of the nervous system and red blood cells. However, excess sodium intake can lead to problems such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, and cerebral infarction. The recommended amount of sodium by the World Health Organization (WHO) is 2,000 mg per day for adults, but the exact amount is difficult to determine. While various devices are available to monitor sodium levels in the blood or urine, they are too expensive for individual households, and are used mostly in hospitals and other professional institutes. If such devices are developed for use in households, they can encourage people to adopt healthy diets and help prevent diseases.

Excess sodium is released through the urine. When the test reagent is injected into urine, a faint light is observed due to chemical reactions. High levels of sodium interfere with chemical reactions. The amount of sodium in the body can be determined by accurately measuring the light emitted, which grows fainter with increasing levels of sodium. SiPM is a sensor that measures photon, an elementary particle of light. The purpose of this study was to develop an SiPM-based module for sodium level monitoring.

The measurement module is comprised of a high-voltage supplier capable of fine voltage adjustments for SiPM operation, and a circuit to process signals produced according to incoming photons. An algorithm was developed for the embedded controller to measure photons released by commands via the master device. The module was designed to be compatible with SiPMs of various manufacturers. The technology is expected to have various applications not only in chemiluminescence measurement, but also radiation, radar and other photon-unit measurement. This study was funded by the Pilot Process/Platform Technology R&D Program (NRF-2015M3A7B7045525) of the Ministry of Science and ICT of Republic of Korea.

Researcher, Han, Byunghun
2019 KI Annual Report

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