Evaporation-driven transport-control of small molecules along nanoslits
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- Evaporation-driven transport-control of small molecules along nanoslits
- Seo, Sangjin; Ha, Dogyeong; Kim, Taesung
- Issue Date
- NATURE RESEARCH
- NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, v.12, no.1, pp.1336
- Understanding and controlling the transport mechanisms of small molecules at the micro/nanoscales is vital because they provide a working principle for a variety of practical micro/nanofluidic applications. However, most precedent mechanisms still have remaining obstacles such as complicated fabrication processes, limitations of materials, and undesired damage on samples. Herein, we present the evaporation-driven transport-control of small molecules in gas-permeable and low-aspect ratio nanoslits, wherein both the diffusive and advective mass transports of solutes are affected by solvent evaporation through the nanoslit walls. The effect of the evaporation flux on the mass transport of small molecules in various nanoslit-integrated micro/nanofluidic devices is characterized, and dynamic transport along the nanoslit is investigated by conducting numerical simulations using the advection-diffusion equation. We further demonstrate that evaporation-driven, nanoslit-based transport-control can be easily applied to a micro/nanofluidic channel network in an independent and addressable array, offering a unique working principle for micro/nanofluidic applications and components such as molecule-valves, -concentrators, -pumps, and -filters. Nanofluidic channels offer the possibility to process small molecules or colloids, but transport control meets serious challenges. Seo et al. use evaporation-driven advective flow to establish a versatile manipulation scheme of the fluid carrier, disposing of external connectors.
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