Evaluation of Nanopore Sensor Design Using Electrical and Optical Analyses

Lauren A. Mayse, Ali Imran, Yazheng Wang, Mohammad Ahmad, Rebecca A. Oot, Stephan Wilkens, Liviu Movileanu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Nanopores are currently utilized as powerful tools for single-molecule protein sensing. The reporting signal typically requires protein analytes to enter the nanopore interior, yet a class of these sensors has emerged that allows targeted detection free in solution. This tactic eliminates the spatial limitation of nanopore confinement. However, probing proteins outside the nanopore implies numerous challenges associated with transducing the physical interactions in the aqueous phase into a reliable electrical signature. Hence, it necessitates extensive engineering and tedious optimization routes. These obstacles have prevented the widespread adoption of these sensors. Here, we provide an experimental strategy by developing and validating single-polypeptide-chain nanopores amenable to single-molecule and bulk-phase protein detection approaches. We utilize protein engineering, as well as nanopore and nanodisc technologies, to create nanopore sensors that can be integrated with an optical platform in addition to traditional electrical recordings. Using the optical modality over an ensemble of detectors accelerates these sensors’ optimization process for a specific task. It also provides insights into how the construction of these single-molecule nanopore sensors influences their performance. These outcomes form a basis for evaluating engineered nanopores beyond the fundamental limits of the resistive-pulse technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10857-10871
Number of pages15
JournalACS nano
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 13 2023


  • biolayer interferometry
  • nanodisc
  • nanosensor
  • protein detection
  • protein engineering
  • real-time kinetics
  • single-molecule electrophysiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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