Electrostatic focusing of unlabelled DNA into nanoscale pores using a salt gradient

Meni Wanunu, Will Morrison, Yitzhak Rabin, Alexander Y. Grosberg, Amit Meller

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Solid-state nanopores are sensors capable of analysing individual unlabelled DNA molecules in solution. Although the critical information obtained from nanopores (for example, DNA sequence) comes from the signal collected during DNA translocation, the throughput of the method is determined by the rate at which molecules arrive and thread into the pores. Here, we study the process of DNA capture into nanofabricated SiN pores of molecular dimensions. For fixed analyte concentrations we find an increase in capture rate as the DNA length increases from 800 to 8,000 base pairs, a length-independent capture rate for longer molecules, and increasing capture rates when ionic gradients are established across the pore. Furthermore, we show that application of a 20-fold salt gradient allows the detection of picomolar DNA concentrations at high throughput. The salt gradients enhance the electric field, focusing more molecules into the pore, thereby advancing the possibility of analysing unamplified DNA samples using nanopores.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)160-165
    Number of pages6
    JournalNature Nanotechnology
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Feb 2010

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Bioengineering
    • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
    • Biomedical Engineering
    • General Materials Science
    • Condensed Matter Physics
    • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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