Contact: Evan Lerner
University of Pennsylvania
Caption: Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have made an advance towards realizing a new gene sequencing technique based on threading DNA through a tiny hole in a layer of graphene. Earlier versions of the technique only made use of graphene's unbeatable thinness, but the Penn team's research shows how the material's unique electrical properties may be employed to make faster and more sensitive sequencing devices. The technique involves drilling nanopores into ultra-thing graphene nanoribbons using the beam from a transmission electron microscope, but simply looking at such devices in a TEM produces defects in their atomic structure and damages their sensitivity. The Penn team got around this problem by taking a quick scan of the of ribbons, producing a highly pixelated image that didn't damage the ribbons and gave enough detail for the researchers to pick the spot they wanted to drill.
Credit: University of Pennsylvania
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