Measuring ionic currents passing through nano- or micropores has shown great promise for the electrical discrimination of various biomolecules, cells, bacteria, and viruses. However, conventional measurements have shown there is an inherent limitation to the detectable particle volume (1% of the pore volume), which critically hinders applications to real mixtures of biomolecule samples with a wide size range of suspended particles. Here we propose a rational methodology that can detect samples with the detectable particle volume of 0.01% of the pore volume by measuring a transient current generated from the potential differences in a microfluidic bridge circuit. Our method substantially suppresses the background ionic current from the μA level to the pA level, which essentially lowers the detectable particle volume limit even for relatively large pore structures. Indeed, utilizing a microscale long pore structure (volume of 5.6 × 104 aL; height and width of 2.0 × 2.0 μm; length of 14 μm), we successfully detected various samples including polystyrene nanoparticles (volume: 4 aL), bacteria, cancer cells, and DNA molecules. Our method will expand the applicability of ionic current sensing systems for various mixed biomolecule samples with a wide size range, which have been difficult to measure by previously existing pore technologies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry