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DNA graphene

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Threading DNA through a nanometer-size pore, so called nanopores, drilled into an ultrathin graphene membrane is a promising approach to build nanobiosensors for sequencing the human genome. Graphene nanopores can detect translocating DNA by recording concomitant flow of charged ions through the pore (see December 2011 highlight). As reported in the December 2013 highlight, graphene, which is an electrical conductor, offers a new way of sensing DNA molecules by monitoring sheet currents along the graphene membrane. DNA is a highly extensible molecule and upon mechanical manipulation can change its structure from a canonical helical conformation to a linear zipper-like conformation. A new study, which combines classical molecular dynamics simulations using NAMD with quantum mechanical simulations, suggests that sheet currents, in graphene membranes, can be used to detect conformation and sequence of a DNA molecule passing through the nanopore. This new research will guide the development of graphene-based nanosensors for DNA detection. More information can be found on our graphene nanopore website.