Asymmetric dynamics of DNA entering and exiting a strongly confining nanopore

Nicholas A.W. Bell, Kaikai Chen, Sandip Ghosal, Maria Ricci, Ulrich F. Keyser*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


In nanopore sensing, changes in ionic current are used to analyse single molecules in solution. The translocation dynamics of polyelectrolytes is of particular interest given potential applications such as DNA sequencing. In this paper, we determine how the dynamics of voltage driven DNA translocation can be affected by the nanopore geometry and hence the available configurational space for the DNA. Using the inherent geometrical asymmetry of a conically shaped nanopore, we examine how DNA dynamics depends on the directionality of transport. The total translocation time of DNA when exiting the extended conical confinement is significantly larger compared to the configuration where the DNA enters the pore from the open reservoir. By using specially designed DNA molecules with positional markers, we demonstrate that the translocation velocity progressively increases as the DNA exits from confinement. We show that a hydrodynamic model can account for these observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number380
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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