Molecular understanding of osmosis in semipermeable membranes

A. V. Raghunathan, N. R. Aluru

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate single-file osmosis of water through a semipermeable membrane with an uncharged, a positively and a negatively charged nanopore. Molecular dynamics simulations indicate that the osmotic flux through a negatively charged pore (J-) is higher compared to the osmotic flux in a positively charged pore (J+) followed by the osmotic flux in the uncharged pore (J0), i.e., J->J+>J0. The molecular mechanisms governing osmosis, steady state osmosis, and the observed osmotic flux dependence on the nanopore charge are explained by computing all the molecular interactions involved and identifying the molecular interactions that play an important role during and after osmosis. This study helps in a fundamental understanding of osmosis and in the design of advanced nanoporous membranes for various applications of osmosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number024501
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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