Single molecule trapping and sensing using dual nanopores separated by a zeptoliter nanobridge

Cadinu, Paolo and Paulose Nadappuram, Binoy and Lee, Dominic J. and Sze, Jasmine Y. Y. and Campolo, Giulia and Zhang, Yanjun and Shevchuk, Andrew and Ladame, Sylvain and Albrecht, Tim and Korchev, Yuri and Ivanov, Aleksandar P. and Edel, Joshua B. (2017) Single molecule trapping and sensing using dual nanopores separated by a zeptoliter nanobridge. Nano Letters, 17 (10). 6376–6384. ISSN 1530-6992 (

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There is a growing realization, especially within the diagnostic and therapeutic community, that the amount of information enclosed in a single molecule can not only enable a better understanding of biophysical pathways, but also offer exceptional value for early stage biomarker detection of disease onset. To this end, numerous single molecule strategies have been proposed, and in terms of label-free routes, nanopore sensing has emerged as one of the most promising methods. However, being able to finely control molecular transport in terms of transport rate, resolution, and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is essential to take full advantage of the technology benefits. Here we propose a novel solution to these challenges based on a method that allows biomolecules to be individually confined into a zeptoliter nanoscale droplet bridging two adjacent nanopores (nanobridge) with a 20 nm separation. Molecules that undergo confinement in the nanobridge are slowed down by up to 3 orders of magnitude compared to conventional nanopores. This leads to a dramatic improvement in the SNR, resolution, sensitivity, and limit of detection. The strategy implemented is universal and as highlighted in this manuscript can be used for the detection of dsDNA, RNA, ssDNA, and proteins.