Biosensing with conically shaped nanopores and nanotubes
In this review we consider recent results from our group that are directed towards developing “smart” synthetic nanopores that can mimic the functions of biological nanopores (transmembrane proteins). We first discuss the preparation and characterization of conical nanopores synthesized using the track-etch process. We then consider the design and function of conical nanopores that can rectify the ionic current that flows through these pores under an applied transmembrane potential. Finally, two types of sensors that we have developed with these conical nanopores are described. The first sensor makes use of molecular recognition elements that are bound to the nanopore mouth to selectively block the nanopore tip, thus detecting the presence of the analyte. The second sensor makes use of conical nanopores in a resistive-pulse type experiment, detecting the analyte via transient blockages in ionic current.