Lee, Park, Kang, Lee, Kim, Kim (2020) Surface modification of solid-state nanopore by plasma-polymerized chemical vapor deposition of poly(ethylene glycol) for stable device operation Nanotechnology 31(18) 185503


Biopolymer adsorption onto a membrane is a significant issue in the reliability of solid-state nanopore devices, since it degrades the device performance or promotes device failure. In this work, a poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) layer was coated on a silicon nitride (SiNx) membrane by plasma-polymerized vapor deposition to inhibit biopolymer adsorption. From optical observations, the deposited PEG layer demonstrated increased hydrophilicity and anti-adsorption property compared to the SiNx surface. Electrical properties of the PEG/SiNx nanopore were characterized, showing Ohmic behavior and a 6.3 times higher flicker noise power due to the flexible conformation of PEG in water. Antifouling performance of each surface was analyzed by measuring the average time from voltage bias to the first adsorption during DNA translocation experiments, where the modified surface enabled two times prolonged device operation. The time to adsorption was dependent on the applied voltage, implying adsorption probability was dominated by the electrophoretic DNA approach to the nanopore. DNA translocation behaviors on each surface were identified from translocation signals, as the PEG layer promoted unfolded and fast movement of DNA through the nanopore. This work successfully analyzed the effect of the PEG layer on DNA adsorption and translocation in solid-state nanopore experiments.