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Functionalized MoS2 nanorribon as a capacitive displacement sensor for DNA sequencing



Alex Smolyanitsky, Tsjerk A. Wassenaar, Eugene Paulechka, Kenneth Kroenlein


We propose an aqueous functionalized molybdenum disulfide nanoribbon suspended over a solid electrode as a capacitive displacement sensor aimed at determining the DNA sequence. The detectable sequencing events arise from the combination of Watson–Crick base-pairing, one of nature's most basic lock-and-key binding mechanisms, with the ability of appropriately sized atomically thin membranes to flex substantially in response to subnanonewton forces. We employ carefully designed numerical simulations and theoretical estimates to demonstrate excellent (79% to 86%) raw target detection accuracy at ∼70 million bases per second and electrical measurability of the detected events. In addition, we demonstrate reliable detection of repeated DNA motifs. Finally, we argue that the use of a nanoscale opening (nanopore) is not requisite for the operation of the proposed sensor and present a simplified sensor geometry without the nanopore as part of the sensing element. Our results, therefore, potentially suggest a realistic, inherently base-specific, high-throughput electronic DNA sequencing device as a cost-effective de novo alternative to the existing methods.
ACS Nano


nanotechnology, nanoelectronics, DNA sequencing, simulation, theory, molecular dynamics


Smolyanitsky, A. , Wassenaar, T. , Paulechka, E. and Kroenlein, K. (2016), Functionalized MoS2 nanorribon as a capacitive displacement sensor for DNA sequencing, ACS Nano, [online],, (Accessed May 19, 2024)


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Created September 13, 2016, Updated September 28, 2022