Di Fiori and colleagues published in Nature Nanotechnology
November 12, 2013
Physics alumnus Nicolas Di Fiori (PhD 2013) and colleagues were recently published in the prestigious journal Nature Nanotechnology for their discovery of a technique to control the speed at which biomolecules such as DNA pass through nanopores. Nanopores are nanometer-scale apertures in very thin ceramics through which molecules can be translocated one at a time and have the potential to unlock low-cost and ultra-fast DNA sequencing technologies. Di Fiori demonstrated that focusing a visible laser beam on a nanopore creates an electro-osmotic flow in the opposite direction of incoming biomolecules. The rushing water acts as a brake, slowing down the passage of the molecules through the pore, allowing a higher-resolution read of DNA nucleotides. He also showed that this technique could be used to identify small proteins that could not previously be detected in their native state, and that the flow reliably unblocks clogged nanopores, significantly extending their lifetime. The full article is available online here.