Induced-charge electrokinetics in a conducting nanochannel with broken geometric symmetry : towards a flexible control of ionic transport
Date of Issue2015
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
In the literature, conventional electrokinetics is widely used as a principle of operating nanofluidic devices. Different from the conventional electrokinetics involving nonpolarizable solid surfaces with fixed surface charge, induced-charge electrokinetic (ICEK) phenomena deal with polarizable surfaces with the ability of surface charge modulation through electric polarization under external electric fields. Because of several advantages, ICEK phenomena have drawn a great deal of attention in microfluidic community. Herein, we propose the first effort of extending the ICEK phenomena from microfluidics to nanofluidics. In particular, we report a numerical model for the ICEK phenomena in a tapered nanochannel with conducting (ideally polarizable) walls. It is shown that due to the broken geometric symmetry of the nanochannel, induced-charge electroosmotic flow inside the nanochannel exhibits a flow rectification such that electrolyte solution always flows from the narrow end of the nanochannel to the wide end for either a forward electric bias (electric field from the narrow to wide ends) or a reverse electric bias (electric field from the wide to narrow ends). In addition, we demonstrate that the ion selectivity of such tapered conducting nanochannel can be actively tuned to be cation-selective with a forward bias and anion-selective with a reverse bias. Promisingly, conducting nanochannels with broken geometric symmetry could be potentially used for constructing nanofluidic pumps with the unidirectional pumping capacity and ion selectors with the tuneable ionic selection.
DRNTU::Engineering::Mechanical engineering::Fluid mechanics
Physics of fluids
© 2015 AIP Publishing LLC. This paper was published in Physics of Fluids and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of AIP Publishing LLC. The paper can be found at the following official DOI: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4906773]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.