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Aug 05

Nanopore Research

This project aims to integrate CMOS electronics with a versatile single molecule detector, the nanopore. Biomolecules, such as deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or proteins, can be guided through a nanoscale aperture (referred to as a nanopore) one molecule at a time, resulting in signatures that reveal characteristics of the passing molecule. As single-stranded DNA translocates through a nanopore, each nucleotide induces a blockage in the ionic channel, creating a unique current signature. However, the fast translocation speed of 1-10 nucleotides per microsecond and small current changes of 1-10 picoampere, which are superimposed on a much larger baseline current of 1000 picoampere, pose significant technical challenges on the measurement circuitry design. In the Hall group, we are researching how to design low-noise and high-speed transimpedance amplifiers to sense these minute current signatures. An inexpensive single molecule biosensor will have a tremendous impact in areas as diverse as medicine and health, both domestically and abroad.