Metal alloy solid-state nanopores for single nanoparticle detection†
Solid-state nanopore technology for nanoparticle sensing is considered for the development of analytical tools to characterise their size, shape or zeta potential. In this field, it is crucial to understand how the nanopore inner surface influences the dynamic of nanoparticle translocation. Here, three single nanopores directly drilled in metal alloys (titanium nitride, titanium-tantalum and tantalum) are considered. The translocation of polystyrene nanoparticles coated with ssDNA is investigated by the resistive pulse method at different concentrations and voltages. The results show that the nanoparticle energy barrier for entrance into the pore decreases for nanopores that exhibits a higher surface energy and hydrophilicity, while the dwell time is found to depend on the nanopore surface state. Overall, this study demonstrates that the control of nanopore surface state must be taken into account for the resistive pulse experiments for nanoparticle detection.