Large permeabilities of hourglass nanopores: From hydrodynamics to single file transport

S Gravelle and L Joly and C Ybert and L Bocquet, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 141, 18C526 (2014).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4897253

In fluid transport across nanopores, there is a fundamental dissipation that arises from the connection between the pore and the macroscopic reservoirs. This entrance effect can hinder the whole transport in certain situations, for short pores and/or highly slipping channels. In this paper, we explore the hydrodynamic permeability of hourglass shape nanopores using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, with the central pore size ranging from several nanometers down to a few Angstroms. Surprisingly, we find a very good agreement between MD results and continuum hydrodynamic predictions, even for the smallest systems undergoing single file transport of water. An optimum of permeability is found for an opening angle around 5 degrees, in agreement with continuum predictions, yielding a permeability five times larger than for a straight nanotube. Moreover, we find that the permeability of hourglass shape nanopores is even larger than single nanopores pierced in a molecular thin graphene sheet. This suggests that designing the geometry of nanopores may help considerably increasing the macroscopic permeability of membranes. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.

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