A sensor to detect and quantify urea in fluids resulting from hemodialysis procedures, and in blood and other body fluids. The sensor is based upon a chemiresistor, which consists of an interdigitated array of metal fingers between which a resistance measured. The interdigitated array is fabricated on a suitable substrate. The surface of the array of fingers is covered with a coating containing the enzyme urease which catalyzes the hydrolysis of urea to form the ammonium ion, the bicarbonate ion, and hydroxide-chemical products which provide the basis for the measured signal. In a typical application, the sensor could be used at bedside, in conjunction with an appropriate electronics/computer system, in order to determine the hemodialysis endpoint. Also, the chemiresistor used to detect urea, can be utilized with a reference chemiresistor which does not contain urease, and connected in a differential measurement arrangement, such that the reference chemiresistor would cancel out any fluctuations due to background effects.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.