The over-arching goal of this proposal is to provide transformative advances towards developing a nanofluidic pump inspired by principles of active pumping from biology and engineered nanofluidics. In this proof-of-concept project, an attempt will be made to establish electrokinetic aqueous electrolyte transport in a confined nanochannel in the presence of asymmetric surface charges on the channel walls. The experiments will be guided by computational models (both continuum and molecular dynamics) to engineer a proof-of-concept, novel, nanofluidic pump. The idea is based on well-established ideas in biological systems that use asymmetric charges to move hydrated ions and combine with a nanofluidic device with embedded electrodes to develop a novel nanofluidic pump. Since, no such system has been built before this proposal presents high risk, potentially transformative research. This work will have significant impact on advances in nanoscale fluid dynamics leading to new avenues for engineering novel nanofluidic devices for a variety of applications as described in the main proposal narrative. By using multi-stage integration between research and education, this multi-disciplinary experimental project is expected to give at a minimum undergraduate and graduate students and perhaps a much broader audience including minority, under-represented groups, middle and high school female students exposure to microfluidics and nanofluidics through individual and group lab training, coursework, hands-on workshops, outreach, and web modules for impact on education of future scientists and engineers.

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Ohio State University
United States
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