Single‐molecule Sensors: Challenges And Opportunities For Quantitative Analysis
Gooding JJ and Gaus K
Measurement science has been converging to smaller and smaller samples, such that it is now possible to detect single molecules. This Review focuses on the next generation of analytical tools that combine single‐molecule detection with the ability to measure many single molecules simultaneously and/or process larger and more complex samples. Such single‐molecule sensors constitute a new type of quantitative analytical tool, as they perform analysis by molecular counting and thus potentially capture the heterogeneity of the sample. This Review outlines the advantages and potential of these new, quantitative single‐molecule sensors, the measurement challenges in making single‐molecule devices suitable for analysis, the inspiration biology provides for overcoming these challenges, and some of the solutions currently being explored.