This summer I’ve been analyzing the electrical properties of solid state nanopores using computer simulation. There’s no specific goal for my research other than experimenting with various alignments of nanopores and exploring their properties. A nanopore is basically a very tiny pore on a membrane that could be used for DNA sequencing, isolating ions and other process that operates on nanoscale. I modeled different nanopores and combinations and calculated their conductance and current in corresponding occasion by applying some equations. Computational work is mainly theoretical, but it gives direction in which experiments could be conducted. Through this research I learned to use COMSOL Multiphysics, which is a software for modeling and simulating scientific problems. In terms of physics, I gained a basic understanding of nanopores, their fabrication and properties. And through modeling I familiarized myself with some physics equations that characterize electrostatics, ion flows and fluid flows.
The idea of nanopores seems intuitive at first glance. But to actually making and utilizing them requires dedicated research in many different fields. Participating in this research project furthered my interest in physics and inventions like nanopores that incorporates multiple subjects. There are many angles at which researchers can develop this technology, like signal processing, fabrication, manipulating molecules, etc. Creativity and cross-disciplinary are really important. It’s exciting to think about the promising future of solid state nanopores and I wish I can delve deeper into this topic.