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Phys Rev E. 2018 Feb;97(2-1):022141. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.97.022141.

Enhanced diffusion on oscillating surfaces through synchronization.

Wang J1,2, Cao W2,3,4, Ma M2,3,4, Zheng Q1,2,3.

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Department of Engineering Mechanics, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.
Center for Nano and Micro Mechanics, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.
State Key Laboratory of Tribology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.


The diffusion of molecules and clusters under nanoscale confinement or absorbed on surfaces is the key controlling factor in dynamical processes such as transport, chemical reaction, or filtration. Enhancing diffusion could benefit these processes by increasing their transport efficiency. Using a nonlinear Langevin equation with an extensive number of simulations, we find a large enhancement in diffusion through surface oscillation. For helium confined in a narrow carbon nanotube, the diffusion enhancement is estimated to be over three orders of magnitude. A synchronization mechanism between the kinetics of the particles and the oscillating surface is revealed. Interestingly, a highly nonlinear negative correlation between diffusion coefficient and temperature is predicted based on this mechanism, and further validated by simulations. Our results provide a general and efficient method for enhancing diffusion, especially at low temperatures.


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