Beyond the gene chip



We describe a prospective strategy for reading the encyclopedic information encoded in the genome: using a nanopore in a membrane formed from a metal-oxide semiconductor (MOS)-capacitor to sense the charge in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). In principle, as DNA permeates the capacitormembrane through the pore, the electrostatic charge distribution characteristic of the molecule should polarize the capacitor and induce a voltage on the electrodes that can be measured. Silicon nanofabrication and molecular dynamic simulations with atomic detail are technological linchpins in the development of this detector. The sub-nanometer precision available through silicon nanotechnology facilitates the fabrication of the detector, and molecular dynamics provides us with a means to design it and analyze the experimental outcomes. © 2005 Lucent Technologies Inc.