Stretching DNA using the electric field in a synthetic nanopore

Jiunn B. Heng, Aleksei Aksimentiev, Chuen Ho, Patrick Marks, Yelena V. Grinkova, Steve Sligar, Klaus Schulten, Gregory Timp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mechanical properties of DNA over segments comparable to the size of a protein-binding site (3-10 nm) are examined using an electric-field-induced translocation of single molecules through a nanometer diameter pore. DNA, immersed in an electrolyte, is forced through synthetic pores ranging from 0.5 to 1.5 nm in radius in a 10 nm thick Si 3N 4 membrane using an electric field. To account for the stretching and bending, we use molecular dynamics to simulate the translocation. We have found a threshold for translocation that depends on both the dimensions of the pore and the applied transmembrane bias. The voltage threshold coincides with the stretching transition that occurs in double-stranded DNA near 60 pN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1883-1888
Number of pages6
JournalNano letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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