Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

11-8-2012

Abstract

Knowledge of nanopore size and shape is critical for many implementations of these singlemolecule sensing elements. Geometry determination by fitting the electrolyte-concentrationdependence of the conductance of surface-charged, solid-state nanopores has been proposed to replace demanding electron microscope-based methods. The functional form of the conductance poses challenges for this method by restricting the number of free parameters used to characterize the nanopore. We calculated the electrolyte-dependent conductance of nanopores with an exponential-cylindrical radial profile using three free geometric parameters; this profile, itself, could not be uniquely geometry-optimized by the conductance. Several different structurally simplified models, however, generated quantitative agreement with the conductance, but with errors exceeding 40% for estimates of key geometrical parameters. A tractable conical-cylindrical model afforded a good characterization of the nanopore size and shape, with errors of less than 1% for the limiting radius. Understanding these performance limits provides a basis for using and extending analytical nanopore conductance models.

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