Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy


Event details

Date 09.02.2023
Hour 17:0018:00
Speaker Prof. Georg Fantner and Prof. Aleksandra Radenovic, EPFL 
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English
Nanopores are one of the most successful label-free single-molecule techniques with several sensing applications such as biological screening, diagnostics, DNA and protein sequencing. In current nanopore technologies, stochastic processes influence both the selection of the translocating molecule, translocation rate and translocation velocity. As a result, single-molecule translocations are difficult to control spatially and temporally. In this talk we will present a novel method where we engineered precise spatial and temporal control into the single-molecule experiment. We used a glass nanopore mounted on a 3D nanopositioner to spatially select molecules, deterministically tethered on a glass surface, for controlled translocations. By controlling the distance between the nanopore and the glass surface, we could actively select the region of interest on the molecule and scan it a controlled number of times and at controlled velocity. Decreasing the velocity and averaging thousands of consecutive readings of the same molecule increases the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) by two orders of magnitude compared to free translocations. We applied our method to various DNA constructs, achieving down to single nucleotide gap resolution. The spatial multiplexing combined with the sub-nanometer resolution could be used in conjunction with micro-array technologies to enable screening of DNA, improving point of care devices, or enabling high-density, addressable DNA data storage.


Prof. Georg Fantner received the Ph.D. degree in physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, USA, in 2006. He was an Erwin Schrödinger Fellow with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA, for three years. He then joined the Faculty at the École Polytechnique Fédérale (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland. As an Associate Professor, he heads the Laboratory for Bio- and Nano-Instrumentation, Interfaculty Institute for Bioengineering, and the Microengineering Institute. He has authored many internationally recognized papers and book chapters. His current research interests include developing next generation nanoscale measurement technologies for life science. Dr. Fantner was a recipient of an ERC Starting Grant for 2012–2017 and an ERC Consolidator Grant for 2018–2023. He served as a Guest Editor for the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. He serves as an Editor for Microscopy and Microanalysis (Cambridge University Press) and an Editorial Board Member of Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). 

Prof. Aleksandra Radenovic is a full professor of biological engineering at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and head of the Laboratory of Nanoscale Biology. Her lab works in the research field that can be termed single-molecule biophysics. She has received her Ph.D. in Biophysics from the University of Lausanne (Switzerland.) in 2003 and a Msc. in Physics from the University of Zagreb (Croatia) in 2000. In 2010, she received a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant in 2010 and SNF Backup scheme Consolidator Grant (2015). She is also the recipient of the CCMX materials challenge award in 2016 and the Advanced ERC (2020) grant. She develops techniques and methodologies based on optical imaging, bio-sensing and single-molecule manipulation with the aim to monitor the behavior of individual biological molecules and complexes in vitro and in live cells.

Practical information

  • Informed public
  • Free


  • EPFL Center for Imaging