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NANO-CHAPP — Result In Brief

Project ID: 220492
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE

Track-etched single nanopores

The EU-funded NANO-CHAPP project has advanced our understanding of single nanopores in wide-ranging applications. Some interesting applications include single-molecule DNA analysis, biotoxin sensing, ionic diodes and transistor circuits.
Track-etched single nanopores
Track-etching enables controllable manufacture of materials with desired pore shape (e.g. cylindrical, conical, and funnel-like), pore size and density. The characteristics of the pores are tailored to their intended application.

As part of the initiative, researchers on the 'Track-etched single nanopores: Advanced characterisation and new applications' (NANO-CHAPP) project received essential training for operating electron and optical microscopes for pore geometry characterisation. The scientists also learned how to fabricate and chemically modify track-etched nanopores, as well as use clean-room micro-fabrication techniques. NANO-CHAPP researchers focused on single nanopores with diameters of 2 – 50 wide. Noise characteristics and other properties of track-etched nanopores in silicon-nitride membranes were studied for potential commercial applications.

Another area of interest was the use of resistive-pulse sensing for virus detection and particle counting using nanopores. Successful results have provided novel insight into nanopore substructure and particles' trajectory through the pore. These have been presented in several publications. Most importantly, the technique can differentiate between particles of same volume but varying shapes more rapidly than currently used commercial methods for biotoxin detection.

NANO-CHAPP successfully demonstrated, for the first time ever, DNA translocation through a graphene nanopore, highlighting great potential in low-cost, high-throughput ionic-based DNA analysis. Other achievements include characterisation and fabrication of metal nanotubes and hydrophobic nanopores.

Project outcomes have resulted in several journal articles that have been heavily cited. Results could lead to the commercialisation of low-cost but rapid DNA and virus analysis tools as well as nanopore-based drug delivery that will significantly improve health care. Besides invaluable insight into track-etched nanopores, this project has also deepened collaboration in the field between the EU and the United States.

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