Electronic signatures of all four DNA nucleosides in a tunneling gap

Shuai Chang, Shuo Huang, Jin He, Feng Liang, Peiming Zhang, Shengqing Li, Xiang Chen, Otto Sankey, Stuart Lindsay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

127 Scopus citations


Nucleosides diffusing through a 2 nm electron-tunneling junction generate current spikes of sub-millisecond duration with a broad distribution of peak currents. This distribution narrows 10-fold when one of the electrodes is functionalized with a reagent that traps nucleosides in a specific orientation with hydrogen bonds. Functionalizing the second electrode reduces contact resistance to the nucleosides, allowing them to be identified via their peak currents according to deoxyadenosine > deoxycytidine > deoxyguanosine > thymidine, in agreement with the order predicted by a density functional calculation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1070-1075
Number of pages6
JournalNano Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 10 2010



  • DNA nucleosides
  • DNA sequencing
  • Electron tunneling
  • Hydrogen bonding
  • Molecular recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering

Cite this

Chang, S., Huang, S., He, J., Liang, F., Zhang, P., Li, S., Chen, X., Sankey, O., & Lindsay, S. (2010). Electronic signatures of all four DNA nucleosides in a tunneling gap. Nano Letters, 10(3), 1070-1075. https://doi.org/10.1021/nl1001185