Graphene Membrane Transistor for DNA Sensing and Manipulation

leburtonJean-Pierre Leburton

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Department of Physics
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

In recent years, there has been tremendous interest in using solid-state membranes with nanopores as a new tool for DNA and RNA characterization and possibly sequencing. Among solid-state porous membranes, the use of mono-layer graphene is particularly attractive because of its electric versatility, physical robustness, and good electronic properties. In this talk, we will present a scenario that integrates biology with graphene-based field-effect transistors for probing the electrical activity of DNA molecules during their translocation through a graphene membrane nanopore, thereby providing a means to manipulate them, and potentially to identify by electronic technique their molecular sequences1.


  1. Girdhar, C. Sathe, K. Schulten, and J.P. Leburton, “A Graphene Quantum Point Contact Transistor for DNA sensing,” Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. (PNAS), 110 (42), pp 16748-16753 (2013)



Jean-Pierre Leburton received his Ph.D. from the University of Liege (Belgium) in 1978. He is a professor in the UIUC Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a research professor in the Coordinated Science Laboratory. He is also a full-time faculty member of the Computational Electronics Group in the Beckman Institute.

Professor Leburton’s expertise is in the theory and simulation of nanoscale semiconductor devices and low-dimensional systems. His research focuses specifically on transport and optical processes in semiconductor nanostructures such as quantum wells, quantum wires, and quantum dots. Current research projects involve electronic properties of self-assembled dots for high-performance lasers, single-electron charging and spin effects in quantum dots, modeling of nanocrystal floating gate flash memory devices, nanoscale Si MOSFETs, and carbon nanotubes and graphene nanostructures. His research also deals with dissipative mechanisms involving electron-phonon interaction in nanostructures for mid- and far-infrared intra-band lasers. Approaches to those problems involve use of sophisticated numerical techniques such as Monte-Carlo simulation and advanced 3D self-consistent Schroedinger-Poisson models including non-equilibrium transport for full-scale nanodevice modeling. In the last few years, his interests turned toward the interaction between living systems and semiconductors to investigate programming and sensing biomolecules with nanoelectronics.