Available Technologies

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Graphene nanopore devices to monitor DNA translocations

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.



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.




  • 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


Stage 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


Docket # W5616