Beyond the Gene Chip

Jiunn B. Heng, Aleksei Aksimentiev, C Ho, Valentin Dimitrov, T Sorsch, J Miner, W Mansfield, Klaus Schulten, and Gregory Timp
Bell Labs Tech J 10(3) 5-22 (2005)
DOI:10.1002/bltj.20102  PMID:18815623  BibTex

We describe a prospective strategy for reading the encyclopedic information encoded in the genome: using a nanopore in a membrane formed from an MOS-capacitor to sense the charge in DNA. In principle, as DNA permeates the capacitor-membrane through the pore, the electrostatic charge distribution characteristic of the molecule should polarize the capacitor and induce a voltage on the electrodes that can be measured. Silicon nanofabrication and molecular dynamic simulations with atomic detail are technological linchpins in the development of this detector. The sub-nanometer precision available through silicon nanotechnology facilitates the fabrication of the detector, and molecular dynamics provides us with a means to design it and analyze the experimental outcomes.