A system and method for stochastic sensing in which the analyte covalently bonds to the sensor element or an adaptor element. If such bonding is irreversible, the bond may be broken by a chemical reagent. The sensor element may be a protein, such as the engineered P.sub.SH type or .alpha.HL protein pore. The analyte may be any reactive analyte, including chemical weapons, environmental toxins and pharmaceuticals. The analyte covalently bonds to the sensor element to produce a detectable signal. Possible signals include change in electrical current, change in force, and change in fluorescence. Detection of the signal allows identification of the analyte and determination of its concentration in a sample solution. Multiple analytes present in the same solution may be detected.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT FUNDING
The present invention was developed using funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, a Department of Defense (Office of Naval Research) Multidisciplinary Research Initiative (1999), and the National Institutes of Health. The U.S. government may have certain right to the invention.