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Issue 42, 2009
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Concerted orientation induced unidirectional water transport through nanochannels

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Abstract

The dynamics of water inside nanochannels is of great importance for biological activities as well as for the design of molecular sensors, devices, and machines, particularly for sea water desalination. When confined in specially sized nanochannels, water molecules form a single-file structure with concerted dipole orientations, which collectively flip between the directions along and against the nanotube axis. In this paper, by using molecular dynamics simulations, we observed a net flux along the dipole-orientation without any application of an external electric field or external pressure difference during the time period of the particular concerted dipole orientations of the molecules along or against the nanotube axis. We found that this unique special-directional water transportation resulted from the asymmetric potential of water–water interaction along the nanochannel, which originated from the concerted dipole orientation of the water molecules that breaks the symmetry of water orientation distribution along the channel within a finite time period. This finding suggests a new mechanism for achieving high-flux water transportation, which may be useful for nanotechnology and biological applications.

Graphical abstract: Concerted orientation induced unidirectional water transport through nanochannels

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Apr 2009, accepted on 18 Aug 2009 and first published on 26 Aug 2009


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B907926M
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2009,11, 9898-9902

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    Concerted orientation induced unidirectional water transport through nanochannels

    R. Wan, H. Lu, J. Li, J. Bao, J. Hu and H. Fang, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2009, 11, 9898
    DOI: 10.1039/B907926M

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