In our recent publication (Advanced Functional Materials ) we show that low-intensity laser etching and nanopore formation in amorphous silicon-nitride (SixN) freestanding films highly depends on the Si to N ratio. Increasing the relative Si content yields orders of magnitude increase in etch rate, which is further accelerated in alkaline environments, enabling the fabrication of nanopore arrays within tens of seconds at any arbitrary location.
In a recent publication (ACS Nano, November 2018, DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.8b07055) we showed that thin titanium dioxide membranes produce negligible photoluminescence background as compared to silicon nitride membranes of same thickness. This discovery permits electrooptical sensing in nanopores with much improved signal-to-background ratio, allowing us to use it for sensing and discrimination among labelled DNA strands as well as polypeptides for the first time.
Proteins are the structural elements and machinery of cells responsible for a functioning biological architecture and homeostasis. Advances in nanotechnology are catalyzing key breakthroughs in many areas, including the analysis and study of proteins at the single-molecule level. Nanopore sensing is at the forefront of this revolution. This tutorial review, published on October 17, 2018, provides readers a guidebook and reference for detecting and characterizing proteins at the single-molecule level using nanopores. Specifically, the review describes the key materials, nanoscale features, and design requirements of nanopores. It also discusses general design requirements as well as details on the analysis of protein translocation. Finally, the article provides the background necessary to understand current research trends and to encourage the identification of new biomedical applications for protein sensing using nanopores.