Simultaneous Sensing of Force and Current Signals to Recognize Proteinogenic Amino Acids at a Single-Molecule Level

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

8 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-799
Journal / PublicationJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number2
Online published7 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2021


The identification ability of nanopore sequencing is severely hindered by the diversity of amino acids in a protein. To tackle this problem, a graphene nanoslit sensor is adopted to collect force and current signals to distinguish 20 residues. Extensive molecular dynamics simulations are performed on sequencing peptides under pulling force and applied electric field. Results show that the signals of force and current can be simultaneously collected. Tailoring the geometry of the nanoslit sensor optimizes signal differences between tyrosine and alanine residues. Using the tailored geometry, the characteristic signals of 20 types of residues are detected, enabling excellent distinguishability so that the residues are well-grouped by their properties and signals. The signals reveal a trend in which the larger amino acids have larger pulling forces and lower ionic currents. Generally, the graphene nanoslit sensor can be employed to simultaneously sense two signals, thereby enhancing the identification ability and providing an effective mode of nanopore protein sequencing.

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