Graphene nanopore is a promising device for single molecule sensing, including DNA bases, as its single atom thickness provides high spatial resolution. To attain high sensitivity, the size of the molecule should be comparable to the pore diameter. However, when the pore diameter approaches the size of the molecule, ion properties and dynamics may deviate from the bulk values and continuum analysis may not be accurate. In this paper, we investigate the static and dynamic properties of ions with and without an external voltage drop in sub-5-nm graphene nanopores using molecular dynamics simulations. Ion concentration in graphene nanopores sharply drops from the bulk concentration when the pore radius is smaller than 0.9 nm. Ion mobility in the pore is also smaller than bulk ion mobility due to the layered liquid structure in the pore-axial direction. Our results show that a continuum analysis can be appropriate when the pore radius is larger than 0.9 nm if pore conductivity is properly defined. Since many applications of graphene nanopores, such as DNA and protein sensing, involve ion transport, the results presented here will be useful not only in understanding the behavior of ion transport but also in designing bio-molecular sensors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry