Nanopores are label-free sensing platforms able to characterize single biomolecules and probe nanoscale physics. Nanopores in ultrathin materials have a promising application in both desalination and osmotic power generation using salinity gradients. Although all of these diverse applications are done in an aqueous environment, little is known about fluid flow and its coupling with ion transport properties. Understanding the physics underlying ion transport through nano-sized pores allows better design of porous membrane materials and nanopore sensors.
By combining control over hydrostatic pressure and pressure induced fluid flow with ion transport measurements, one enters the arena of nanofluidics. I will first explain the basics principles of nanopore sensing and the application of nanopores to osmotic power generation, and then proceed to demonstrate how nanofluidic measurements can provide a significant improvement to existing experimental techniques. I will show control over nano-scale gas bubbles at nanopores, and provide insight into how fluid flow can influence osmotic power generators. Lastly, the role nanofludics can have in studying the highly correlated ionic liquids in single nanopore confinement will be discussed.
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