Colloquium: Ionic phenomena in nanoscale pores through 2D materials

Published: June 27, 2019


Subin Sahu, Michael P. Zwolak


Ion transport through channels and nanoscale pores cuts across many disciplines, from single- molecule sensing to pharmacology and cellular physiology to battery and fuel cell technologies. Two-dimensional materials, such as graphene, MoS$_2$, and hexagonal boron nitride, are recent additions to these fields. Low-dimensional materials afford new opportunities to develop filtration and sensing technologies, encompassing ion exclusion membranes, DNA sequencing, single molecule detection, and beyond. Moreover, the physics of ionic transport through pores and constrictions within these materials is a distinct realm of competing many-particle interactions (e.g., electrostatic blockade, solvation/dehydration, hydrogen bond dynamics) and confinement. This opens up alternative routes to creating biomimetic pores and can even give analogues of quantum phenomena, such as quantized ionic conductance, in classical systems. Indeed, these prospects make membranes of 2D materials -- i.e., 2D membranes -- fascinating. We will discuss both the physics and applications of ion transport and sensing in 2D membranes.
Citation: Reviews of Modern Physics
Volume: 91
Pub Type: Journals


Ion transport, Ion Channel, nanopore, sequencing, molecular sensing, membrane separation, desalination
Created June 27, 2019, Updated July 18, 2019