Optically-Monitored Nanopore Fabrication Using a Focused Laser Beam

Tal Gilboa, Adam Zrehen, Arik Girsault, Amit Meller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Solid-state nanopores (ssNPs) are extremely versatile single-molecule sensors and their potential have been established in numerous biomedical applications. However, the fabrication of ssNPs remains the main bottleneck to their widespread use. Herein, we introduce a rapid and localizable ssNPs fabrication method based on feedback-controlled optical etching. We show that a focused blue laser beam irreversibly etches silicon nitride (SiNx) membranes in solution. Furthermore, photoluminescence (PL) emitted from the SiNx is used to monitor the etching process in real-time, hence permitting rate adjustment. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images of the etched area reveal an inverted Gaussian thickness profile, corresponding to the intensity point spread function of the laser beam. Continued laser exposure leads to the opening of a nanopore, which can be controlled to reproducibly fabricate nanopores of different sizes. The optically-formed ssNPs exhibit electrical noise on par with TEM-drilled pores, and translocate DNA and proteins readily. Notably, due to the localized thinning, the laser-drilled ssNPs exhibit highly suppressed background PL and improved spatial resolution. Given the total control over the nanopore position, this easily implemented method is ideally suited for electro-optical sensing and opens up the possibility of fabricating large nanopore arrays in situ.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9765
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Optically-Monitored Nanopore Fabrication Using a Focused Laser Beam'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this