Case ID: M20-022L

Published: 2023-10-17 12:36:56

Last Updated: 1700652636


Chao Wang
Pengkun Xia

Technology categories

Advanced Materials/NanotechnologyApplied TechnologiesBioanalytical Assays, Chemistries & DevicesDiagnostic Assays/DevicesLife Science (All LS Techs)Semiconductor DevicesSemiconductors, Materials & Processes

Licensing Contacts

Jovan Heusser
Director of Licensing and Business Development
[email protected]

Sapphire-Supported Substrates for Low-Noise Nanopore Sensing

Solid-state nanopores are attractive because of their low cost and broad potential utility from single-molecule bioanalytical sensing to diagnostics and sequencing of DNA and protein molecules. Unfortunately, conventional use of conductive silicon substrates results in high capacitive noise, significantly limiting sensing accuracy and recording speed. Various efforts have been explored to design and manufacture low-noise nanopore devices, such as demoting recording bandwidths, using alternative substrates, or slowing down translocation speed, however, these approaches have still faced a number of limitations.
Researchers at Arizona State University have developed novel methods for fabricating sapphire-supported nanopore membranes to promote low-noise nanopore sensing. The substrate insulation drastically minimizes conductance-based capacitance, and the fabrication method allows for controlled membrane dimensions to improve the recording bandwidth by more than one order of magnitude. These nanopores enable sensing at microsecond speed with a signal-to-noise ratio of 21. The manufacturability of the sapphire-supported nanopores makes them competitive with conventional nanopore chips on the market. Additionally, the membranes could also be used to create MEMS devices by adding further components.
This nanopore sensor and fabrication methods present a manufacturable nanoelectronics platform feasible for high-speed, low-cost and low-noise sensing of a variety of biomolecules.
Potential Applications
  • Bioanalytical sensor
  • DNA and protein sequencing
  • Diagnostics
  • Molecular interaction studies
  • MEMS applications
Benefits and Advantages
  • The chip capacitance can be reduced by orders of magnitude
    • Significantly reduces the background high-frequency electrical noise and improves high-bandwidth sensing
  • Favorable for fast circuit response for electrical or optical methods to form nanopores in dielectric membranes
  • Batch-processing compatible to enable high-throughput and low-cost production that is critical to device implementation
  • The single-crystalline and insulating (bandgap ~10 eV) nature of sapphire can suppress leakage current and photoluminescence background for high DNA signal integrity, feasible for both low-noise electrical and optical sensing
  • Scalable formation of small membranes (<25 um) with a size deviation of less than 7 um over two 2-inch wafers
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For more information about the inventor(s) and their research, please see