Monday, July 26, 2010

#Carbon #Graphene Beats #Silicon at #DNA #Sequencing

Semiconductor manufacturers are not the only ones pursuing carbon-based graphene for next-generation electronics--this group is fabricating an automatic DNA sequencer using graphene nanopores. Look for affordable personal DNA sequencing enabled by electronics within five years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

University of Pennsylvania researchers developed a carbon-based, nanoscale platform to electrically detect single DNA molecules by using electric fields to push tiny DNA strands through atomically-thin graphene nanopores that ultimately may sequence DNA bases by their unique electrical signature.

Here's what EETimes says about graphene nanopores: Carbon-based platforms outperform existing silicon-nitride based systems, according to a University of Pennsylvania team that is working on a system which automates DNA sequencing. With its carbon-based detectors, the team has been able to sense the electronic signatures of DNA strands with integrated graphene nanopores. The graphene-based detector was fabricated at the University of Pennsylvania using chemical vapor deposition to grow flakes of graphene in which they drilled nanoscale pores with the electron beam of a transmission electron microscope. The researchers were able to demonstrate that individual DNA strands could be coaxed into threading through the tiny graphene nanopores with electric fields. The process, called translocation, detects the components of a DNA strand (called bases) by sensing them with tiny electrodes as they glide through the graphene pore.
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