Nanopores in solid-state membranes are promising for a wide range of applications including DNA sequencing, ultra-dilute analyte detection, protein analysis, and polymer data storage.
Techniques to fabricate solid-state nanopores have typically been time-consuming or lacked the resolution to create pores with diameters down to a few nanometers, as required for the above appications.
In recent years, several methods to fabricate nanopores in electrolyte environments have been demonstrated. These in situ methods include controlled breakdown (CBD), electrochemical reactions (ECR), laser etching and laser-assisted controlled breakdown (la-CBD).
These techniques are democratising solid-state nanopores by providing the ability to fabricate pores with diameters down to a few nanometers (ie comparable to the size of many analytes) in a matter of minutes using relatively simple equipment.
Here we review these in situ nanopore fabrication techniques and highlight the challenges and advantages of each method. Furthermore, we compare these techniques by their desired application and provide insights into future research directions for in situ nanopore fabrication methods.
You can read the paper in Chemical Society Reviews.