TCB Publications - Abstract

Hu Qiu, Anuj Girdhar, Klaus Schulten, and Jean-Pierre Leburton. Electrically tunable quenching of DNA fluctuations in biased solid-state nanopores. ACS Nano, 10:4482-4488, 2016. (PMC: PMC4918906)

QIU2016 Nanopores offer sensors for a broad range of nanoscale materials, in particular ones of biological origin like single- and double-stranded DNA or DNA-protein complexes. In order to increase single-molecule sensitivity, it is desirable to control biomolecule motion inside nanopores. In the present study, we investigate how in case of a double- stranded DNA the single-molecule sensitivity can be improved through bias voltages. For this purpose we carry out molecular dynamics simulations of the DNA inside nanopores in an electrically biased metallic membrane, by using molecular dynamics simulations. Stabilization of DNA, namely a reduction in thermal fluctuations, is observed under positive bias voltages, while negative voltages bring about only negligible stabilization. For positive biases the stabilization arises from electrostatic attraction between the negatively charged DNA backbone and the positively charged pore surface. Simulations on a teardrop-shape pore show a transverse shift of DNA position toward the sharp end of the pore under positive bias voltages, suggesting the possibility to control DNA alignment inside nanopores through geometry shaping. The present findings open a feasible and efficient route to reduce thermal noise, and in turn, enhance the signal-to-noise ratio in single-molecule nanopore sensing.

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