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Advances in resistive pulse sensors: devices bridging the void between molecular and microscopic detection

Darby Kozak, Will Andersona, Robert Vogel, Matt Trau
Nano Today. Volume 6, Issue 5, October 2011, Pages 531–545

Since the first reported use of a biological ion channel to detect differences in single stranded genomic base pairs in 1996, a renaissance in nanoscale resistive pulse sensors has ensued. This resurgence of a technique originally outlined and commercialized over 50 years ago has largely been driven by advances in nanoscaled fabrication, and ultimately, the prospect of a rapid and inexpensive means for genomic sequencing as well as other macromolecular characterization. In this pursuit, the potential application of these devices to characterize additional properties such as the size, shape, charge, and concentration of nanoscaled materials (10–900 nm) has been largely overlooked. Advances in nanotechnology and biotechnology are driving the need for simple yet sensitive individual object readout devices such as resistive pulse sensors. This review will examine the recent progress in pore-based sensing in the nanoscale range. A detailed analysis of three new types of pore sensors – in-series, parallel, and size-tunable pores – has been included. These pores offer improved measurement sensitivity over a wider particle size range. The fundamental physical chemistry of these techniques, which is still evolving, will be reviewed.

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