DNA Sensor with Electronic Transduction
Fluorescence-based detection of nucleic acid has several drawbacks. First, it requires that fluorescent tags be chemically attached to target nucleic acid. Next, fluorescent tags have a lifetime, after which they bleach, which limits sensitivity and archiving. Finally, fluorescent readout technology requires a laser and optical system.
Thus, in order to eliminate the necessity of fluorescently tagging target nucleic acid, which requires chemical steps before analyte is brought to a sensor, the inventors have devised an apparatus and method for the exposure of analyte to a nanoporous senor without chemical processing. The invention is a nucleic acid microarray sensor which detects target nucleic acid based on binding-induced conductivity changes in parallel nanochannels. The sensor allows for the detection of the binding of “target” nucleic acid to “probe” nucleic acid strands which are linked to the sensor. The probe nucleic acid strands are linked to the inner walls of a high-aspect ratio porous structure. The pore diameter may range from 5-200 nm. When target nucleic acid binds to the probe nucleic acid which is linked to the pore walls, it fills a large fraction of the cross-sectional area of the pore. Since the dominant electrical conduction mechanism through a liquid is ionic, it is expected that by filling a large fraction of the pore volume with target nucleic acid, the electrical conduction through the pore will be significantly reduced.
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