Mapping the Ion Current Distribution in Nanopore/Electrode Devices

Solid-state nanopores with integrated electrodes have interesting prospects in next-generation single-molecule biosensing and sequencing. These include “gated” nanopores with a single electrode integrated into the membrane, as well as two-electrode designs, such as a transversal tunneling junction. Here we report the first comprehensive analysis of current flow in a three-electrode device as a model for this class of sensors. As a new feature, we observe apparent rectification in the pore current that is rooted in the current distribution of the cell, rather than the geometry or electrostatics of the pore. We benchmark our results against a recently developed theoretical model and define operational parameters for nanopore/electrode structures. Our findings thus facilitate the rational design of such sensor devices.