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The Role of Pore Geometry in Single Nanoparticle Detection

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journal contribution
posted on 25.09.2012, 00:00 by Matthew Davenport, Ken Healy, Matthew Pevarnik, Nick Teslich, Stefano Cabrini, Alan P. Morrison, Zuzanna S. Siwy, Sonia E. Létant
We observe single nanoparticle translocation events via resistive pulse sensing using silicon nitride pores described by a range of lengths and diameters. Pores are prepared by focused ion beam milling in 50 nm-, 100 nm-, and 500 nm-thick silicon nitride membranes with diameters fabricated to accommodate spherical silica nanoparticles with sizes chosen to mimic that of virus particles. In this manner, we are able to characterize the role of pore geometry in three key components of the detection scheme, namely, event magnitude, event duration, and event frequency. We find that the electric field created by the applied voltage and the pore’s geometry is a critical factor. We develop approximations to describe this field, which are verified with computer simulations, and interactions between particles and this field. In so doing, we formulate what we believe to be the first approximation for the magnitude of ionic current blockage that explicitly addresses the invariance of access resistance of solid-state pores during particle translocation. These approximations also provide a suitable foundation for estimating the zeta potential of the particles and/or pore surface when studied in conjunction with event durations. We also verify that translocation achieved by electro-osmostic transport is an effective means of slowing translocation velocities of highly charged particles without compromising particle capture rate as compared to more traditional approaches based on electrophoretic transport.

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