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July 31st, 2007
Artificial nanopores take analyte pulse
Resistive pulse sensing represents a very attractive method for identifying and quantifying biomedical species such as drugs, DNA, proteins, and viruses in solution. This method involves measuring changes in the ionic current across a membrane containing a single nanometer-sized pore that separates two electrolyte solutions. As the biological analytes make their way through the pore, they induce transient downward current pulses in the ionic current by transiently blocking the nanopore.
The frequency, duration, and magnitude of the current pulse contain telltale information that aids the identification and quantification of the analyte. A biological nanopore, α-hemolysin, supported by a lipid bilayer membrane, works well in the detection of various analytes. However, a major impediment to this system is its lack of mechanical robustness. Indeed, these biological membranes tend to rupture within a few hours, thus precluding their application in practical sensing devices.
Now a team of researchers at the University of Florida have come up with a major breakthrough that will aid the reproducible fabrication of robust synthetic single-nanopore membranes ("A Method for Reproducibly Preparing Synthetic Nanopores for Resistive-Pulse Biosensors").
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