Design and Optimize a Smartphone-Based Medical Device Using an Aggregation-Induced Emission Bio-probe for CKD Monitoring

Author: Tran Tam Anh Pham

  • Thesis download: available for open access on 27 Jun 2020.

Pham, Tran Tam Anh, 2017 Design and Optimize a Smartphone-Based Medical Device Using an Aggregation-Induced Emission Bio-probe for CKD Monitoring , Flinders University, School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics

This electronic version is made publicly available by Flinders University in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material and/or you believe that any material has been made available without permission of the copyright owner please contact with the details.


Human Serum Albumin (HSA), a major component of blood plasma, has been used as a potential indicator for the early stages of the Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) for a considerable period of time. Traditional testing techniques require patients to regularly travel to testing clinics, consuming time and incurring cost. In addition, traditional testing necessitates the availability of trained medical staff and complex diagnostic equipment. However, with the use of an Aggregation-Induced Emission Bio-probe for CKD Monitoring, it may be possible for patients to reliably undertake testing by themselves, at home without the need for intervention from medical professionals. This project therefore proposes the development of a home-based smartphone medical device, which can monitor kidney function, where the patient performs testing by themselves, in an environment which is both convenient using equipment which is accessible and affordable.

A specific Aggregation Induced Emission (AIE) bio-probe, sodium 1,2-bis[4-(3sulfonatoproxyl)phenyl]-1,2-diphenylethene (BSPOTPE), is used to detect serum albumin in urine. BSPOTPE is non-luminescent in urine, but becomes emissive in the presence of HSA. With high resolution in differentiating the concentration levels of HSA in urine (low detection limitation to 1 nM), superior selectivity to Albumin and correlations between light intensity and HSA concentration, the bio probe will be utilised by a smartphone based medical device. The HSA bio-probe will absorb the stimulating light and then emit fluorescence, and the smartphone will be used to record the levels of fluorescent light. Finally, an application installed on a smartphone will be used determine the correlation between light intensity and HSA concentration. The smartphone-based urinalysis device will utilise ASSURED features that are Affordable, Sensitive, Specific, User-friendly, Rapid Robust, Equipment-free and Deliverable to end-user.

In undertaking the project, a number of technical challenges need to be resolved, such as the need for a uniform stimulating light wavelength and high light intensity from the light source, the removal of light contamination from the external environment, as well as the need for an accessible, usable and affordable - physical device to be manufactured. Although there is a need for further development and testing to improve the device’s reliability, the project has demonstrated highly encouraging results, in the correlation between the fluorescent light emitted from the bio-probe and the HSA concentrations that have been detected, in indicating the potential presence of Chronic Kidney Disease.

This device is therefore expected to ultimately help users cost effectively, efficiently and reliably, test and monitor the albumin levels in their urine, and therefore detect the early onset of chronic kidney disease, without unduly impacting their daily lives while improving their kidney health.

Keywords: CKD, Smartphone, medical device, monitoring, AIE, BSPOTPE

Subject: Engineering thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2017
School: School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics
Supervisor: Sandy Walker