Field-dependent DNA mobility in 20nm high nanoslits

G.B. Beugelaar, Juliane Teapal, Jan William van Nieuwkasteele, Daniël Wijnperle, Jonas O. Tegenfeldt, Fred Lisdat, Albert van den Berg, Jan C.T. Eijkel

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71 Citations (Scopus)


The transport behavior of lambda-DNA (48 kbp) in fused silica nanoslits is investigated upon application of electrical fields of different strengths. The slit dimensions are 20 nm in height, 3 mu m in width, and 500 mu m in length. With fields of 30 kV/m or below, the molecules move fluently through the slits, while at higher electrical fields, the DNA molecules move intermittently, resulting in a strongly reduced mobility. We propose that the behavior can be explained by mechanical and/or field-induced dielectrophoretic DNA trapping due to the surface roughness in the nanoslits. The observation of preferential pathways and trapping sites of the lambda-DNA molecules through the nanoslits supports this hypothesis and indicates that the classical viscous friction models to explain the DNA movement in nanoslits needs to be modified to include these effects. Preliminary experiments with the smaller Xbal-digested litmus-DNA (2.8 kbp) show that the behavior is size-dependent, suggesting that the high field electrophoresis in nanoslits can be used for DNA separation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1785-1790
Number of pages6
JournalNano letters
Issue number08332/7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


  • METIS-252109
  • EWI-14082
  • BIOS-Micro/nanofluidics
  • IR-59461


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