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ACS Nano. 2012 Nov 27;6(11):10090-7. doi: 10.1021/nn303816w. Epub 2012 Oct 12.

Directly observing the motion of DNA molecules near solid-state nanopores.

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Aoyama-Gakuin University, Sagamihara Campus L617, 5-10-1 Fuchinobe, Chuo, Sagamihara, Kanagawa, 252-5258 Japan.


We investigate the diffusion and the drift motion of λ DNA molecules near solid-state nanopores prior to their translocation through the nanopores using fluorescence microscopy. The radial dependence of the electric field near a nanopore generated by an applied voltage in ionic solution can be estimated quantitatively in 3D by analyzing the motion of negatively charged DNA molecules. We find that the electric field is approximately spherically symmetric around the nanopore under the conditions investigated. In addition, DNA clogging at the nanopore was directly observed. Surprisingly, the probability of the clogging event increases with increasing external bias voltage. We also find that DNA molecules clogging the nanopore reduce the electric field amplitude at the nanopore membrane surface. To better understand these experimental results, analytical method with Ohm's law and computer simulation with Poisson and Nernst-Planck (PNP) equations are used to calculate the electric field near the nanopore. These results are of great interest in both experimental and theoretical considerations of the motion of DNA molecules near voltage-biased nanopores. These findings will also contribute to the development of solid-state nanopore-based DNA sensing devices.

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