Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Aluminum-oxide Nanopore Beats Other Materials For DNA Analysis

Date:
June 5, 2009
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Fast and affordable genome sequencing has moved a step closer with a new solid-state nanopore sensor.

Rashid Bashir, a Bliss Professor of electrical and computer engineering and of bioengineering, center, led the researchers who developed a new solid-state nanopore sensor. He is flanked by graduate students Murali Venkatesan, left, and Sukru Yemenicioglu.
Credit: Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

Fast and affordable genome sequencing has moved a step closer with a new solid-state nanopore sensor being developed by researchers at the University of Illinois.

The nanopore sensor, made by drilling a tiny hole through a thin film of aluminum oxide, could ultimately prove capable of performing DNA analysis with a single molecule, offering tremendous possibilities for personalized medicine and advanced diagnostics.

"Solid-state nanopore sensors have shown superior chemical, thermal and mechanical stability over their biological counterparts, and can be fabricated using conventional semiconductor processes," said Rashid Bashir, a Bliss Professor of electrical and computer engineering and bioengineering, and the director of the university's Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory.

"The aluminum-oxide nanopore sensors go a step further," Bashir said, "exhibiting superior mechanical properties, enhanced noise performance and increased lifetime over their silicon-oxide and silicon-nitride counterparts."

The researchers describe the fabrication and operation of the aluminum-oxide nanopore sensor in a paper accepted for publication in Advanced Materials, and posted on the journal's Web site.

To make the sensor, the researchers begin by using a technique called atomic layer deposition to produce a very thin film of aluminum oxide on a silicon substrate.

Next, the central portion of the substrate is etched away, leaving the film as a suspended membrane. An electron beam is then used to create a very tiny hole – a nanopore – in the membrane.

The process of making the nanopore resulted in an unexpected bonus, Bashir said. "As the electron beam forms the nanopore, it also heats the surrounding material, forming nanocrystallites around the nanopore. These crystals help to improve the mechanical integrity of the nanopore structure and could potentially improve noise performance as well."

The nanopore sensors described in the paper had pore diameters ranging in size from 4 to 16 nanometers, and a film thickness of approximately 50 nanometers. Thinner membranes are possible with atomic layer deposition, Bashir said, and would offer higher resolution of the detection.

"Thinner membranes can produce less noise as a molecule travels through the nanopore," said Bashir, who is also affiliated with the university's Beckman Institute, the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, and the Institute for Genomic Biology. "Ultimately, we'd like to make our membranes as thin as biological membranes, which are about 5 nanometers thick."

To demonstrate the functionality of the aluminum-oxide nanopores, the researchers performed experiments with pieces of DNA containing approximately 5,000 base pairs. Bashir's team verified the detection of single molecules, with a signal-to-noise performance comparable to that achieved with other solid-state nanopore technology.

"More work must be done to achieve single base resolution, however," Bashir said. "Our next step is to detect and measure significantly shorter molecules."

With Bashir, co-authors of the paper are graduate students Bala Murali Venkatesan (lead author), Brian Dorvel, Sukru Yemenicioglu and Nicholas Watkins, and principal research scientist Ivan Petrov.

Funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Aluminum-oxide Nanopore Beats Other Materials For DNA Analysis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090602112307.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2009, June 5). Aluminum-oxide Nanopore Beats Other Materials For DNA Analysis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090602112307.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Aluminum-oxide Nanopore Beats Other Materials For DNA Analysis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090602112307.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) Police body cameras are gradually being rolled out across the US, with interest surging after the fatal police shooting in August of an unarmed black teenager. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina's Tax Evaders Detected, Hunted Down by Drones

Argentina's Tax Evaders Detected, Hunted Down by Drones

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) Argentina doesn't only have Lionel Messi the footballer, it has now also acquired "Mesi" the drone system which monitors undeclared mansions, swimming pools and soy fields to curb tax evasion in the country. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CERN Celebrates 60 Years of Science

CERN Celebrates 60 Years of Science

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 29, 2014) CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, celebrates 60 years of bringing nations together through science. As Joanna Partridge reports from inside the famous science centre it's also planning to turn the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator back on after an upgrade. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins