PORTLAND, Ore. -- Carbon-based platforms can outperform existing silicon nitride systems, according to University of Pennsylvania researchers working on a system that automates DNA sequencing. Using carbon-based detectors, the team has been able to sense the electronic signatures of DNA strands through the use of integrated graphene nanopores.
The graphene-based detector was fabricated using chemical vapor deposition to grow flakes of graphene in which the researchers drilled nanoscale pores using the electron beam of a transmission electron microscope.
The researchers claim they demonstrated that individual DNA strands could be coaxed into threading through the tiny graphene nanopores using electric fields. The process, called translocation, detects the components of a DNA strand (called bases) by sensing them with tiny electrodes as they glide through the graphene pore. Each DNA base, according to the researchers, can be distinguished by virtue of conducting with a slightly different current.
The carbon-based platform was found to significantly boost signals coming from the translocation electrodes, compared to existing siicon nitride detectors.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.