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This Week’s Discoveries | 24 April 2018

24 april 2018
Oort Building
Niels Bohrweg 2
2333 CA Leiden

First Lecture

Zero-depth nanopores and twisted graphene nanogaps: perspectives on the future of biosensing.

Amedeo Bellunato (LIC)
Amedeo is a PhD candidate at the Leiden Institute of Chemistry in the group of Dr. Grégory Schneider. The work he will present is done in collaboration with Prof. Jan van Ruitenbeek (LION).

The atomic thickness of graphene inspired a new generation of biosensing devices, namely 2D nanopores, where molecules and biopolymers such as DNA translocate through a hole drilled in a graphene membrane, returning an ionic signal used as a fingerprint for molecular recognition. Despite the very first promising results, graphene nanopores did not achieve yet single nucleotide resolution; particularly because of the so-called access resistance of such pores, the fast translocation rates and several noise components. Graphene nanogaps represent the alternative, where a tunnelling current flows across two (or more) graphene electrodes with a biomolecule in-between, returning now an electrical fingerprint of the translocating biomolecular strands. In this talk, I will present unconventional approaches to fabricate nanogap devices within a platform that permits to incorporate tunnelling electrodes directly within a nanofluidic system ideally capable to electrically scan biomolecules from head-to-tail. Our first results demonstrate the achievement of a nanogap – and its resulting tunnelling current across only two carbon atoms facing each other – formed between two independent graphene films, paving the path for directly aligning tunnelling devices within nanofluidic systems.

Second Lecture

Hunting neutrinos in the depths of the Mediterranean Sea

Dorothea Samtleben (LION)
Dorothea is an associate professor in the Cosmological Matter team at LION. Her current research focusses on the exploration of the Universe with neutrinos. This neutral almost massless and only weakly interacting particle can open a window to the distant Universe and also dense regions from which photons cannot escape.

Neutrinos are elementary particles, which can provide invaluable information on the distant Universe and also possibly new physics. however, they are notoriously hard to detect.

Construction for the large KM3NeT neutrino telescope has by now started in the Mediterranean Sea, aiming at the detection of cosmic neutrinos and also at measuring neutrino oscillations to unprecedented detail.

Within the National Roadmap for Large-Scale Scientific Infrastructure KM3NeT has last week been awarded funding of 12.7 Mio Euro. I will give an overview on the challenges, the status and science potential of the project and show first data from the very first detector units already demonstrating the excellent performance required for this endeavour.

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