Dexcom has many patents. Understatement. However, it is my belief the following actually does describe their sensors:
In preferred embodiments, the working electrode comprises a wire formed from a conductive material, such as platinum, platinum-iridium, palladium, graphite, gold, carbon, conductive polymer, alloys, or the like. Although the electrodes can by formed by a variety of manufacturing techniques (bulk metal processing, deposition of metal onto a substrate, or the like), it can be advantageous to form the electrodes from plated wire (e.g., platinum on steel wire) or bulk metal (e.g., platinum wire). It is believed that electrodes formed from bulk metal wire provide superior performance (e.g., in contrast to deposited electrodes), including increased stability of assay, simplified manufacturability, resistance to contamination (e.g., which can be introduced in deposition processes), and improved surface reaction (e.g., due to purity of material) without peeling or delamination.
The working electrode 44 is configured to measure the concentration of an analyte. In an enzymatic electrochemical sensor for detecting glucose, for example, the working electrode measures the hydrogen peroxide produced by an enzyme catalyzed reaction of the analyte being detected and creates a measurable electronic current For example, in the detection of glucose wherein glucose oxidase produces hydrogen peroxide as a byproduct, hydrogen peroxide reacts with the surface of the working electrode producing two protons (2H+), two electrons (2e−) and one molecule of oxygen (O2), which produces the electronic current being detected.
In preferred embodiments, the working electrode 44 is covered with an insulating material 45, for example, a non-conductive polymer. Dip-coating, spray-coating, vapor-deposition, or other coating or deposition techniques can be used to deposit the insulating material on the working electrode. In one embodiment, the insulating material comprises parylene, which can be an advantageous polymer coating for its strength, lubricity, and electrical insulation properties. Generally, parylene is produced by vapor deposition and polymerization of para-xylylene (or its substituted derivatives). While not wishing to be bound by theory, it is believed that the lubricious (e.g., smooth) coating (e.g., parylene) on the sensors of the preferred embodiments contributes to minimal trauma and extended sensor life. FIG. 23 shows transcutaneous glucose sensor data and corresponding blood glucose values over approximately seven days in a human, wherein the transcutaneous glucose sensor data was formed with a parylene coating on at least a portion of the device. While parylene coatings are generally preferred, any suitable insulating material can be used, for example, fluorinated polymers, polyethyleneterephthalate, polyurethane, polyimide, other nonconducting polymers, or the like. Glass or ceramic materials can also be employed. Other materials suitable for use include surface energy modified coating systems such as are marketed under the trade names AMC18, AMC148, AMC141, and AMC321 by Advanced Materials Components Express of Bellafonte, Pa. In some alternative embodiments, however, the working electrode may not require a coating of insulator.
The reference electrode 46, which can function as a reference electrode alone, or as a dual reference and counter electrode, is formed from silver, silver/silver chloride, or the like. Preferably, the reference electrode 46 is juxtapositioned and/or twisted with or around the working electrode 44; however other configurations are also possible (e.g., an intradermal or on-skin reference electrode). In the illustrated embodiments, the reference electrode 46 is helically wound around the working electrode 44. The assembly of wires is then optionally coated or adhered together with an insulating material, similar to that described above, so as to provide an insulating attachment.