Adsorption Kinetics in Open Nanopores as a Source of Low-Frequency Noise

S Gravelle and RR Netz and L Bocquet, NANO LETTERS, 19, 7265-7272 (2019).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b02858

Ionic current measurements through solid-state nanopores consistently show a power spectral density that scales as 1/f(alpha) at low frequency f, with an exponent alpha similar to 0.5-1.5, but strikingly, the physical origin of this behavior remains elusive. Here, we perform simulations of particles reversibly adsorbing at the surface of a nanopore and show that the fluctuations in the number of adsorbed particles exhibit low-frequency pink noise. We furthermore propose theoretical modeling for the time-dependent adsorption of particles on the nanopore surface for various geometries, which predicts a frequency spectrum in very good agreement with the simulation results. Altogether, our results highlight that the low-frequency noise takes its origin in the reversible adsorption of ions at the pore surface combined with the long-lasting excursions of the ions in the reservoirs. The scaling regime of the power spectrum extends down to a cutoff frequency which is far smaller than simple diffusion estimates. Using realistic values for the pore dimensions and the adsorption-desorption kinetics, this predicts the observation of pink noise for frequencies down to the hertz for a typical solid-state nanopore, in good agreement with experiments.

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