Detecting and identifying small molecules in a nanopore flux capacitor

Samuel Bearden, Ethan McClure, Guigen Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A new method of molecular detection in a metallic-semiconductor nanopore was developed and evaluated with experimental and computational methods. Measurements were made of the charging potential of the electrical double layer (EDL) capacitance as charge-carrying small molecules translocated the nanopore. Signals in the charging potential were found to be correlated to the physical properties of analyte molecules. From the measured signals, we were able to distinguish molecules with different valence charge or similar valence charge but different size. The relative magnitude of the signals from different analytes was consistent over a wide range of experimental conditions, suggesting that the detected signals are likely due to single molecules. Computational modeling of the nanopore system indicated that the double layer potential signal may be described in terms of disruption of the EDL structure due to the size and charge of the analyte molecule, in agreement with Huckel and Debye's analysis of the electrical atmosphere of electrolyte solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number075503
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 20 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was completed with support from the Institute for Biological Interfaces of Engineering at Clemson University, Clemson University Department of Bioengineering, Clemson Computing and Information Technology, the Cyberinfrastructure Technology Integration group at Clemson University, and the Georgia Institute of Technology Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology. This work is partially supported by funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the Grand Challenge Explorations Initiative, National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates award # EEC-1262991, and a venture group.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd.


  • DNA
  • electrical double layer
  • metabolite
  • nanopore
  • sensor
  • small molecule
  • solid-state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry (all)
  • Materials Science (all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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