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Graphene nanopore devices to monitor DNA translocations


Docket #  W5616




DNA sequencing is a very expensive and time-consuming process, taking several days and thousands of dollars to sequence a complete genome.



A nanopore is a small hole that DNA can pass through. As DNA goes through the pore, it causes a measurable change in the ion current passing across the pore. Each of the four DNA bases changes the ion current differently. By monitoring the current across synthetic nanopores formed in atomically thin and highly conductive graphene, DNA can be effectively sequenced.

Other solid-state devices use insulating materials, but graphene is highly electrically conductive. Using graphene as a membrane material can enable nanopore devices where electronic sensing and control are performed directly at the pore. Ultimately the researchers aim to use graphene nanopore sequencing to read an entire human genome in 15 minutes at a cost of $1,000.


Technology Overview

This invention is a fabrication method to generate a 1−5 nm thick graphene membrane on top of a silicon nitride window. The membrane is then drilled with transmission electron beam ablation lithography to create nanopores that are  5 to 10 nm in diameter.


Graphene nanopore devices offer better performance than other methods of DNA sequencing, with higher speed and greater signal to noise ratio than traditional techniques.



• Because graphene is electrically conductive, this device provides direct electrical control to the sensor pores

• Graphene is thin and flexible and can be reliably fabricated.

• Greater discernment of individual DNA bases as compared to other nanopore techniques



Marija Drndic, PhD - Professor, Physics and Astronomy

State of Development
Prototype tested in laboratory 

Intellectual Property

Patent filed 7/20/2012


Reference Media

DNA Translocation through Graphene Nanopores


Desired partnerships

• License

• Sponsored research