Enhanced Transport Into and Out of Dead-End Pores

ACS Nano. 2015 Jan 27;9(1):746-53. doi: 10.1021/nn506216b. Epub 2015 Jan 12.


Dead-end micro- and nanoscale channels are ubiquitous in nature and are found in geological and biological systems subject to frequent disruptions. Achieving fluid flows in them is not possible through conventional pressure-driven mechanisms. Here we show that chemically driven convective flows leading to transport in and out of dead-end pores can occur by the phenomenon of "transient diffusioosmosis". The advective velocity depends on the presence of an in situ-generated transient ion gradient and the intrinsic charge on the pore wall. The flows can reach speeds of 50 μm/s and cause extraction of otherwise-trapped materials. Our results illustrate that chemical energy, in the form of a transient salt gradient, can be transduced into mechanical motion with the pore wall acting as the pump. As discussed, the phenomena may underlie observed transport in many geological and biological systems involving tight or dead-end micro- and nanochannels.

Keywords: dead-end pore; diffusioosmosis; diffusiophoresis; mixing; transient ion gradient.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Hydrodynamics*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Nanopores*
  • Sodium Chloride / chemistry
  • Water / chemistry


  • Water
  • Sodium Chloride