Multiscale simulation studies of geometrical effects on solution transport through nanopores
Due to intrinsic properties, solid-state nanopores are widely used in nanopore technology. Different geometries (cylindrical (CY), hourglass (HG) and conical (CO)) of artificial nanopores have been fabricated and studied. Each was found to promote different transport abilities experimentally. To explore such pore effects, the combination of finite element (FE) and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations with applied electric filed (150 mV) were performed. The dimension of anion-selective protein pore was used as a nanopore template. Different pore geometries with a narrowest diameter ranging from 1.8 to 1.8 μm were studied here. Firstly, we found that the narrowest regions at a pore orifice in CO and constriction site in HG maximise water velocity and consequently control a water flow rate. Secondly, CY triggers the highest water flux, but low ion selectivity, whilst the funnel-like geometries (HG and CO) enhance the ion selectivity significantly. Both HG and CO show similar degrees of permeant flux and selectivity. The orifice and constriction site in CO and HG are the main player for selectivity and permeation control. Thirdly, the transport properties are tuneable by changing the flow direction in asymmetric CO pore. The tip-to-base flow in CO obviously promotes stronger anion selectivity than the base-to-tip one.