Plasmonic Nanopores for Trapping, Controlling Displacement, and Sequencing of DNA

Maxim Belkin, Shu Han Chao, Magnus P. Jonsson, Cees Dekker, Aleksei Aksimentiev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the aim of developing a DNA sequencing methodology, we theoretically examine the feasibility of using nanoplasmonics to control the translocation of a DNA molecule through a solid-state nanopore and to read off sequence information using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. Using molecular dynamics simulations, we show that high-intensity optical hot spots produced by a metallic nanostructure can arrest DNA translocation through a solid-state nanopore, thus providing a physical knob for controlling the DNA speed. Switching the plasmonic field on and off can displace the DNA molecule in discrete steps, sequentially exposing neighboring fragments of a DNA molecule to the pore as well as to the plasmonic hot spot. Surface-enhanced Raman scattering from the exposed DNA fragments contains information about their nucleotide composition, possibly allowing the identification of the nucleotide sequence of a DNA molecule transported through the hot spot. The principles of plasmonic nanopore sequencing can be extended to detection of DNA modifications and RNA characterization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10598-10611
Number of pages14
JournalACS Nano
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 24 2015


  • DNA sequencing
  • molecular dynamics
  • nanoplasmonics
  • nanopore
  • plasmonic tweezers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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