Ultra-sensitive flow measurement in individual nanopores through pressure – driven particle translocation†
A challenge for the development of nanofluidics is to develop new instrumentation tools, able to probe the extremely small mass transport across individual nanochannels. Such tools are a prerequisite for the fundamental exploration of the breakdown of continuum transport in nanometric confinement. In this letter, we propose a novel method for the measurement of the hydrodynamic permeability of nanometric pores, by diverting the classical technique of Coulter counting to characterize a pressure-driven flow across an individual nanopore. Both the analysis of the translocation rate, as well as the detailed statistics of the dwell time of nanoparticles flowing across a single nanopore, allow us to evaluate the permeability of the system. We reach a sensitivity for the water flow down to a few femtoliters per second, which is more than two orders of magnitude better than state-of-the-art alternative methods.