Balme, Sebastien; Picaud, Fabien; Manghi, Manoel; Palmeri, John; Bechelany, Mikhael; Cabello-Aguilar, Simon; Abou-Chaaya, Adib; Miele, Philippe; Balanzat, Emmanuel; Janot, Jean Marc
Ionic transport through sub-10 nm diameter hydrophobic high-aspect ratio nanopores: experiment, theory and simulation
SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 5 Art. No. 10135, JUN 3 2015

Fundamental understanding of ionic transport at the nanoscale is essential for developing biosensors based on nanopore technology and new generation high-performance nanofiltration membranes for separation and purification applications. We study here ionic transport through single putatively neutral hydrophobic nanopores with high aspect ratio (of length L = 6 mu m with diameters ranging from 1 to 10 nm) and with a well controlled cylindrical geometry. We develop a detailed hybrid mesoscopic theoretical approach for the electrolyte conductivity inside nanopores, which considers explicitly ion advection by electro-osmotic flow and possible flow slip at the pore surface. By fitting the experimental conductance data we show that for nanopore diameters greater than 4 nm a constant weak surface charge density of about 10(-2) C m(-2) needs to be incorporated in the model to account for conductance plateaus of a few pico-siemens at low salt concentrations. For tighter nanopores, our analysis leads to a higher surface charge density, which can be attributed to a modification of ion solvation structure close to the pore surface, as observed in the molecular dynamics simulations we performed.


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