טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentBar Daniel
SubjectDiamond Like Carbon Films for Solid State Nanopores
DepartmentDepartment of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Supervisor Professor Amit Meller


Abstract

Nanopore based single-molecule sensors have become increasingly versatile with the introduction of new materials and surface treatments. The new sensors detect a broad range of bio-molecules from ssDNA, dsDNA, different proteins, DNA-Protein complexes etc. Fabrication of synthetic nanopores in solid-state materials seems promising as a low-cost and ultra-fast nanopore-based next-generation sequencing platform.  Long read lengths limit the applications of current sequencing-by-synthesis techniques as they include enzymatic reactions, complicated bioinformatics methods and rely heavily on peripheral lab equipment. This results in long turnaround times for any substantial length of sample to be sequenced. Therefore in order to further develop nanopores as tools for basic research as well as commercial applications, temporal and spatial resolution limitations must be improved.

In recent years one of the avenues researchers explored was the use of alternative materials in nanopore platforms. These studies addressed the spatial and temporal resolution problems by introducing atomically thin membrane layers. Among which are for example graphene and its equivalents that are physically at the scale of DNA’s bases separation distance, or another approach would be slowing down the translocation speed as a result of electronic interactions between the nanopore’s materials and the analytes. The studies were focused on improving the electrical properties of the nanopores while not considering their optical properties. In our research, we were dealing with the optical properties of nanopores platform by modifying the nanopores materials. Optical nanopore sensing utilizes light induced biomarkers emission. To this day, most solid-state nanopores are based on Silicon Nitride (SiNx) due to its low-stress and broad use in the microelectronic industry. However, photoluminescence emission from SiNx membranes is relatively high, thus limiting the single-molecule optical sensing capabilities. We introduce Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) based nanopore platform that allows reduced photoluminescence emission making it an attractive platform for optical nanopore set up.

We have developed nanopore platform that is scalable to whole wafer process bypassing the tedious chip-by-chip methods used in alternative materials nanopore platforms. Also Diamond Like Carbon nanopores exhibited 150 times less photoluminescence than the standard SiNx. These results make Diamond Like Carbon nanopores a platform with the potential to be developed for commercially compatible manufacturing devices. Placing it as a very attractive option for viable optical single molecule next generation sequencing.