Research Topic

Advances in Nanopore Technology

About this Research Topic

Biological and solid-state nanopore-based sensors are one of the most promising next-generation single-molecule detection technologies, featuring label-free sensitivity, as well as rapid detection and low-cost features. At the core of nanopore technologies lies a challenge of producing solid-state nanopores with a quality that rivals their much more reliable biological pore counterparts. In particular, ion channels and bacterial toxin channels, for example, α-hemolysin, MspA, and CsgG, when embedded in a lipid bilayer membrane, serve as nanopore sensors with outstanding signal reproducibility and good sensitivity. While biological nanopores have demonstrated potential application in real-time single-molecule detection and sequencing, solid-state nanopores have been widely explored due to their diverse fabrication methods. The potential for tuning the physical and chemical properties of solid-state pores, as well as their compatibility with mass-production, shows significant potential advantages.

This Research Topic highlights, with a broad view, past, present, and future investigations on nanopore technology for single-molecule detection towards high impact applications such as DNA and protein sequencing/fingerprint. A charged biopolymer can be electrophoretically driven through a nanopore by an applied electric potential across the membrane. Then it produces a measurable transient modulation in the ionic current passing through the pore. By monitoring the blockage currents, the properties of an individual biopolymer can be read off in an ultrafast way. While biological nanopores display unique single-molecule sensors, solid-state nanopores are investigated in order to overcome the intrinsic limitations of the biological counterpart. In particular, the time resolution of nanopore sensors depends on the maximum bandwidth of the measurements, which in turn is an optimized parameter that depends on the ion flux and membrane capacitance. For standard sequencing using protein nanopores, this maximum bandwidth of ∼5 kHz presents a maximum sequencing rate of ∼1000 bases per second assuming 5 data points per reading, insufficient for high-accuracy base calling. Moreover, the simultaneous multiplexed readout from many thousands of biological nanopores is extremely challenging. Alternative read-out schemes can be easily implemented in a solid-state device, such for example optical read-out that demonstrated to significantly improve the potentialities of the single-molecule sensors.

We invite researchers to submit original research, reviews, and mini-reviews exploring, but not limited to, the following research areas:
• Biological nanopores
• Solid-state nanopores
• Single-molecule detection
• Single-molecule spectroscopy
• Single-molecule trapping / tweezing
• DNA and protein single-molecule detection in nanopores
• DNA and protein sequencing
• Nanofabrication of integrated devices
• 2D materials for nanopore sequencing


Keywords: Nanopore tecnology, Single-molecule detection, Solid-state nanopores, single-molecule trapping, biological nanopores, DNA detection


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Biological and solid-state nanopore-based sensors are one of the most promising next-generation single-molecule detection technologies, featuring label-free sensitivity, as well as rapid detection and low-cost features. At the core of nanopore technologies lies a challenge of producing solid-state nanopores with a quality that rivals their much more reliable biological pore counterparts. In particular, ion channels and bacterial toxin channels, for example, α-hemolysin, MspA, and CsgG, when embedded in a lipid bilayer membrane, serve as nanopore sensors with outstanding signal reproducibility and good sensitivity. While biological nanopores have demonstrated potential application in real-time single-molecule detection and sequencing, solid-state nanopores have been widely explored due to their diverse fabrication methods. The potential for tuning the physical and chemical properties of solid-state pores, as well as their compatibility with mass-production, shows significant potential advantages.

This Research Topic highlights, with a broad view, past, present, and future investigations on nanopore technology for single-molecule detection towards high impact applications such as DNA and protein sequencing/fingerprint. A charged biopolymer can be electrophoretically driven through a nanopore by an applied electric potential across the membrane. Then it produces a measurable transient modulation in the ionic current passing through the pore. By monitoring the blockage currents, the properties of an individual biopolymer can be read off in an ultrafast way. While biological nanopores display unique single-molecule sensors, solid-state nanopores are investigated in order to overcome the intrinsic limitations of the biological counterpart. In particular, the time resolution of nanopore sensors depends on the maximum bandwidth of the measurements, which in turn is an optimized parameter that depends on the ion flux and membrane capacitance. For standard sequencing using protein nanopores, this maximum bandwidth of ∼5 kHz presents a maximum sequencing rate of ∼1000 bases per second assuming 5 data points per reading, insufficient for high-accuracy base calling. Moreover, the simultaneous multiplexed readout from many thousands of biological nanopores is extremely challenging. Alternative read-out schemes can be easily implemented in a solid-state device, such for example optical read-out that demonstrated to significantly improve the potentialities of the single-molecule sensors.

We invite researchers to submit original research, reviews, and mini-reviews exploring, but not limited to, the following research areas:
• Biological nanopores
• Solid-state nanopores
• Single-molecule detection
• Single-molecule spectroscopy
• Single-molecule trapping / tweezing
• DNA and protein single-molecule detection in nanopores
• DNA and protein sequencing
• Nanofabrication of integrated devices
• 2D materials for nanopore sequencing


Keywords: Nanopore tecnology, Single-molecule detection, Solid-state nanopores, single-molecule trapping, biological nanopores, DNA detection


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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