3D flexible water channel: stretchability of nanoscale water bridge

JG Chen and CL Wang and N Wei and RZ Wan and Y Gao, NANOSCALE, 8, 5676-5681 (2016).

DOI: 10.1039/c5nr08072j

Artificial water channels can contribute to a better understanding of natural water channels and offer a highly selective, advanced conductance system. Most studies use nanotubes, however it is difficult to fabricate a flexible structure, and the nanosized diameter brings nanoconfinement effects, and nanotube toxicity arouses biosafety concerns. In this paper, we use an electric field to restrain the water molecules to form a nanoscale water bridge as an artificial water channel to connect a separated solid plate by molecular dynamics simulations. We observe strong 3D flexible stretchability in the water bridge, maintaining a variable length and an arbitrary angle for a considerably long time. The stretching of the water bridge enables it to be polarized at an arbitrary angle and the stretchability is linearly dependent upon the polarization strength. More interestingly, we show the possibility of establishing complex water networks, e.g., triangle, rectangle, hexagon, and tetrahedron-tetrahedron water networks. Our results may help realize structurally flexible and environmentally friendly water channels for lab-on-a-chip applications in nanofluidics.

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