Optical seminar | 21 January 2022

Italian Institute of Technology
Enhanced Optical Spectroscopy for Multiplexed DNA and Protein -Sequencing with Plasmonic Nanopores: Challenges and Prospects

Nanopore sequencing is currently a widely used technology for single-molecule DNA detection and analysis. Although the error rate is still too high to enable diagnostic applications, biological nanopores have demonstrated to be able to read the sequence of single DNA molecule, and massive efforts are now on-going to exploit the same technology for decoding single proteins. In this framework, solid-state nanopore-based sensors have emerged as alternative platforms for single-molecule sequencing. They did not demonstrate yet to enable reliable DNA sequencing, but they can be easily engineered to include additional functionalities, such as mechanical robustness and versatile chemical functionalization. Among the different classes of solid-state nanopores, plasmonic nanopores have rapidly attracted the interest within the nanopore community, since they allow to engineer the electromagnetic field, which can be exploited as an advanced tool for enhanced optical spectroscopy and tweezing, as well as local control over temperature. More importantly, plasmonic nanopores are the most versatile platform to realize electro-optical single-molecule detection and to explore integrated sequencing methods. In particular, the use of optical read-out in single-molecule sequencing is a key aspect to tackle the challenging goal of protein sequencing, a goal that is more than challenging to achieve using electrical read-out approaches. In this lecture we will try to get a comprehensive understanding of the most recent state-of-the-art plasmonic nanopores for single-molecule detection and biomolecule sequencing applications, and discusses the latest advances and future perspectives on plasmonic nanopore-based technologies, focusing the discussion on the critical aspects to be overcome to enable multiplexing analysis of DNA and protein with single-molecule sensitivity.

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