Thinning of Silicon Nitride Membranes to Form Nanopores

  • Author: Liam Critchley
  • Published: 20 December 2018
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: ACS Nano/ACS Publications
  • Associated Societies: American Chemical Society (ACS), USA
thumbnail image: Thinning of Silicon Nitride Membranes to Form Nanopores

The ability to create solid-state materials at the nanoscale is important for the development of many nanoscale sensor devices, and in particular, solid-state nanopore sensors. Nanopore sensors are used to sense various types of biomolecules and small molecular complexes by applying a voltage across a nanopore and measuring the flux of ions that cross the pore as a function of time.

Meni Wanunu, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA, and colleagues have used a laser-induced thinning approach on silicon nitride (SiNx) membranes to form asymmetric nanopores. The researchers first grew the silicon nitride using deposition and reactive ion etching (RIE) methods. The membranes were then cleaned using oxygen plasma treatment, followed by wet chemical methods. The membranes were then thinned using a laser and an electrokinetic dielectric breakdown method to create the nanopores.

The researchers found that the silicon nitride membranes can be etched using laser light. By combining this approach with the dielectric breakdown method, they could create nanopores with dimensions of 1–2 nm. The pore geometries using this approach are more akin to a funnel rather than the conventional hourglass shape, and could be used to discriminate between different DNA lengths and detect DNA homopolymer sequences. This could broaden the range of applications where nanopores are used, with potential examples in biopolymer sequencing and in the detection of specific biomarkers.


Article Views: 1304

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from, please contact us first for permission. more

Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on LinkedIn Follow on Instagram RSS Sign up for newsletters

Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH