A silicon nanochannel system with integrated transverse electrodes was designed and fabricated by combining micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) micromachining and atomic force microscopy (AFM)-based nanolithography. The fabrication process began with the patterning of microscale reservoirs and electrodes on an oxidised silicon chip using conventional MEMS techniques. A nanochannel, approximately 30 μm long with a small semi-circular cross-sectional area of 20 nm × 200 nm, was then mechanically machined on the oxide surface between the micro reservoirs by applying AFM nanolithography with an all-diamond probe. Anodic bonding was used to seal off the nanochannel with a matching Pyrex cover. Continuous flow in the nanochannel was verified by pressurising a solution of fluorescein isothiocyanate in ethanol through the nanochannel in a vacuum chamber. It was further demonstrated by translocating negatively charged nanobeads (diameter ~20 nm) through the nanochannel by using an external DC electric field. The passage of the nanobeads caused a sharp increase in the transverse electrical conductivity of the nanochannel.
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