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Phys Rev Lett. 2004 Jul 16;93(3):035901. Epub 2004 Jul 15.

Surface-charge-governed ion transport in nanofluidic channels.

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1
Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, Delft University of Technology, Lorentzweg 1, 2628 CJ Delft, The Netherlands.

Abstract

A study of ion transport in aqueous-filled silica channels as thin as 70 nm reveals a remarkable degree of conduction at low salt concentrations that departs strongly from bulk behavior: In the dilute limit, the electrical conductances of channels saturate at a value that is independent of both the salt concentration and the channel height. Our data are well described by an electrokinetic model parametrized only by the surface-charge density. Using chemical surface modifications, we further demonstrate that at low salt concentrations, ion transport in nanochannels is governed by the surface charge.

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