Understanding anomalous current-voltage characteristics in microchannel-nanochannel interconnect devices

Vishal V.R. Nandigana, N. R. Aluru

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The integration of a microchannel with a nanochannel is known to exhibit anomalous nonlinear current-voltage characteristics. In this paper, we perform detailed numerical simulations considering a 2-D nonlinear ion transport model, to capture and explain the underlying physics behind the limiting resistance and the overlimiting current regions, observed predominantly in a highly ion-selective nanochannel. We attribute the overlimiting current characteristics to the redistribution of the space charges resulting in an anomalous enhancement in the ionic concentration of the electrolyte in the induced space charge region, beyond a critical voltage. The overlimiting current with constant conductivity is predicted even without considering the effects of fluidic nonlinearities. We extend our study and report anomalous rectification effects, resulting in an enhancement of current in the non-ohmic region, under the application of combined AC and DC electric fields. The necessary criteria to observe these enhancements and some useful scaling relations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-171
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Colloid And Interface Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 15 2012


  • AC/DC field
  • Concentration polarization
  • Current rectification
  • Micro-nanochannel
  • Overlimiting current
  • Space charge redistribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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