Nanopore Device for Precise Translocation Control and Sequencing of Biopolymer Molecules


Faster and cheaper genome sequencing technologies are fundamentally changing biological research and biomedical practices. Even with significant improvements, current sequencing methods are still time consuming and expensive for single genome sequencing. Nanopore sensing has emerged as a promising candidate for high throughput single-molecule level readout as it does not require complex labeling or DNA amplification. However, the existing designs of nanopore sensors and the preparation strategies face significant challenges such as fabrication scalability and reproducibility, translocation control, and low specificity in read-out signals.

Researchers at Arizona State University have developed a new design and scalable bottom-up process for fabricating solid-state nanopore arrays for single biomolecule characterization based on confined nanoscale electrochemical deposition. The new design of these nanopores allows for the integration of a transverse pair of self-aligned control electrodes, which enable new modes of translocation control and a new type of readout signal – the tunneling current. These electrodes enable precise translocation control of biopolymer molecules through the nanopore and provide intrinsically higher spatial resolution with the recognition tunneling signals as compared to conventional ionic current-based read out.

These nanopores address the scalability, controllability and specificity challenges in existing solid-state nanopore techniques, and can serve as a platform for rapid and affordable mapping and sequencing of biopolymers, such as DNA and proteins.

Potential Applications

• Nanopore fabrication & devices for DNA or protein mapping and sequencing

• Personalized medicine

• Therapeutic development

• Better understanding of diseases

Benefits and Advantages

• In-situ fresh preparation of final nanopore devices with reproducible properties

o Start-kit chips are provided to users, which can be massively produced with standard top-down lithographic processes

o Immediately before recording, automated feedback-controlled process is used to “finish” the nanopore so that the dimension and geometry of each device can be evaluated and optimized in real-time

• Self-aligned control electrodes for precise translocation control and readout

o Act as an active gate. Much stronger control over molecule-nanopore interactions by time-modulated transverse bias.

o DNA can be “stepped” through the nanopore to achieve greater precision in position control and stability in readout signals

o Recognition tunneling current across the electrodes provides higher spatial resolution and specificity, can be correlated with simultaneous ionic current readout

• Unique planar chip architecture allows for simultaneous optical access of each device for real-time fluorescence and Raman studies

For more information about the inventor(s) and their research, please see
Dr. Qing’s laboratory webpage

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