Nanopores @ GSI Materials Research

Etched ion-track membranes are fabricated at GSI by heavy ion irradiation and chemical etching. Pore density and pore arrangement are selected by the irradiation conditions. Pore density can be adjusted during the irradiation step between 1 pore/sample and ~ 1010 ions/cm2. Pore size and geometry are controlled by the etching parameters. Typical pore sizes range between ~ 15 nm and few micrometers in diameter. Using this technique, cylindrical, conical, and bi-conical pores have been fabricated.

Single-pore membranes

  • Single nanopore membranes are fabricated at GSI by irradiation with a single heavy ion and subsequent chemical etching.
  • After irradiation, the polymer foil is introduced in a two-compartment electrochemical cell. The ion track created by the ion is selectively etched. The etching process is monitored by recording the current-time characteristics, using two electrodes immersed each in one of the two compartments. Geometry and size of the resulting nanopore are controlled by the etching conditions (solution, concentration, temperature).
  • Using the same electrochemical cell, the ionic transport through the single nanopore is investigated. These solid state polymeric nanopores are employed as model systems to study the controlled passage of ions through nanochannels. To understand the ionic flow through natural ion channels and artificial nanopores is of fundamental interest in biology, physics, medicine, and chemistry.
  • Single nanopore membranes are also used as sensors to detect and control the pass of molecules, viruses, or particles. In these experiments, the ionic current through the single nanopore at a given potential is monitored. Variations of the current (events) are then correlated to the single objects blocking partly the nanopore on their way through.
  • Another strategy to develop responsive systems and single nanopore sensors rely in incorporating sensing elements into polymer nanochannels and monitoring the intronic output.

Recent Publications

Biomimetic Solid-State Nanochannels for Chemical and Biological Sensing Applications, G. Laucirica, Y. Toum Terrones, V. Cayón, M.L. Cortez, M.E. Toimil-Molares, C. Trautmann, W. Marmisollé, O. Azzaroni, Trends in Analytical Chemistry, In press (2021)

Conical Nanotubes Synthesized by Atomic Layer Deposition of Al2O3, TiO2, and SiO2 in Etched Ion-Track Nanochannels, N. Ulrich, A. Spende, L. Burr, N. Sobel, I. Schubert, C. Hess, C. Trautmann,M.E. Toimil-Molares*, Nanomaterials 11 (2021) 1874.

Borate-driven ionic rectifiers based on sugar-bearing single nanochannels, V. Cayón, G.Laucirica, Y. Toum Terrones,   M.L. Cortez, G. Pérez-Mitta, J. Shen, C. Hess, M.E. Toimil-Molares, C. Trautmann, W.A. Marmisollé, O. Azzaroni, Nanoscale 13 (2021) 11232.  

High-sensitivity detection of dopamine by biomimetic nanofluidic diodes derivatized with poly (3-aminobenzylamine), G Laucirica, YT Terrones, VM Cayón, ML Cortez, ME Toimil-Molares, C. Trautmann, W. Marmisollé, O. Azzaroni, Nanoscale 12 (2020), 18390.

Molecular Design of Solid-State Nanopores: Fundamental Concepts and Applications,G. Pérez-Mitta, M.E. Toimil-Molares, C. Trautmann, W.A. Marmisollé, O. Azzaroni, Adv. Mater. 31 (2019) 1901483.

TiO2, SiO2, and Al2O3 coated nanopores and nanotubes produced by ALD in etched ion-track membranes for transport measurements, A. Spende, N. Sobel, M. Lukas, R. Zierold, J.C. Riedl, L. Gura, I. Schubert, J.M. Montero Moreno, K. Nielsch, B. Stühn, C. Hess, C. Trautmann, M.E. Toimil-Molares, Nanotechnology 26 (2015) 335301.