Diffusion-influenced reactions in a hollow nano-reactor with a circular hole
Hollow nanostructures are paid increasing attention in many nanotechnology-related communities in view of their numerous applications in chemistry and biotechnology, e.g. as smart nanoreactors or drug-delivery systems. In this paper we consider irreversible, diffusion-influenced reactions occurring within a hollow spherical cavity endowed with a circular hole on its surface. Importantly, our model is not limited to small sizes of the aperture. In our scheme, reactants can freely diffuse inside and outside the cavity through the hole, and react at a spherical boundary of given size encapsulated in the chamber and endowed with a given intrinsic rate constant. We work out the solution of the above problem, enabling one to compute the reaction rate constant to any desired accuracy. Remarkably, we show that, in the case of narrow holes, the rate constant is extremely well-approximated by a simple formula that can be derived on the basis of simple physical arguments and that can be readily employed to analyze experimental data.