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Gated Water Transport through Graphene Nanochannels: From Ionic Coulomb Blockade to Electroosmotic Pump

Li, Wen, Wang, Wensen, Zhang, Yingnan, Yan, Youguo, Dai, Caili, Zhang, Jun
The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 2017 v.121 no.32 pp. 17523-17529
electric field, electroosmosis, graphene, molecular dynamics, quantum dots, simulation models
Understanding and controlling water or ion transport in nanochannels plays an important role in further unravelling the transport mechanism of biological membrane channels and designing functional nanofluidic devices. Molecular dynamics simulations were conducted to investigate water and ion transport in graphene nanochannels. Similar to electron coulomb blockade phenomenon observed in quantum dots, we discovered an ionic coulomb blockade phenomenon in our graphene nanochannels, and another two ion transport modes were also proposed to rationalize the observed phenomena under different electric-field intensities. Furthermore, on the basis of this blockade phenomenon we found that the Open and Closed states of the graphene nanochannels for water transport could be switched according to external electric-field intensities, and electroosmotic flow could further enhance the water transport. These findings might have potential applications in designing and fabricating controllable valves in lab-on-chip nanodevices.