Integrating Sub-3 nm Plasmonic Gaps into Solid-State Nanopores

Xin Shi, Daniel Verschueren, Sergii Pud, Cees Dekker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Plasmonic nanopores combine the advantages of nanopore sensing and surface plasmon resonances by introducing confined electromagnetic fields to a solid-state nanopore. Ultrasmall nanogaps between metallic nanoantennas can generate the extremely enhanced localized electromagnetic fields necessary for single-molecule optical sensing and manipulation. Challenges in fabrication, however, hamper the integration of such nanogaps into nanopores. Here, a top-down approach for integrating a plasmonic antenna with an ultrasmall nanogap into a solid-state nanopore is reported. Employing a two-step e-beam lithography process, the reproducible fabrication of nanogaps down to a sub-1 nm scale is demonstrated. Subsequently, nanopores are drilled through the 20 nm SiN membrane at the center of the nanogap using focused-electron-beam sculpting with a transmission electron microscope, at the expense of a slight gap expansion for the smallest gaps. Using this approach, sub-3 nm nanogaps can be readily fabricated on solid-state nanopores. The functionality of these plasmonic nanopores for single-molecule detection is shown by performing DNA translocations. These integrated devices can generate intense electromagnetic fields at the entrance of the nanopore and can be expected to find applications in nanopore-based single-molecule trapping and optical sensing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1703307
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • bowtie antenna
  • nanofabrication
  • single-molecule sensing
  • solid-state nanopore


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