Pressure-dependent ion current rectification in conical-shaped glass nanopores

J Am Chem Soc. 2011 Aug 31;133(34):13300-3. doi: 10.1021/ja205773a. Epub 2011 Aug 5.


Ion current rectification that occurs in conical-shaped glass nanopores in low ionic strength solutions is shown to be dependent on the rate of pressure-driven electrolyte flow through the nanopore, decreasing with increasing flow rate. The dependence of the i-V response on pressure is due to the disruption of cation and anion distributions at equilibrium within the nanopore. Because the flow rate is proportional to the third power of the nanopore orifice radius, the pressure-driven flow can eliminate rectification in nanopores with radii of ∼200 nm but has a negligible influence on rectification in a smaller nanopore with a radius of ∼30 nm. The experimental results are in qualitative agreement with predictions based on finite-element simulations used to solve simultaneously the Nernst-Planck, Poisson, and Navier-Stokes equations for ion fluxes in a moving electrolyte within a conical nanopore.