Nanofluidic transport governed by the liquid/vapour interface
Author(s)Lee, Jongho; Laoui, Tahar; Karnik, Rohit
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Liquid/vapour interfaces govern the behaviour of a wide range of systems but remain poorly understood, leaving ample margin for the exploitation of intriguing functionalities for applications. Here, we systematically investigate the role of liquid/vapour interfaces in the transport of water across apposing liquid menisci in osmosis membranes comprising short hydrophobic nanopores that separate two fluid reservoirs. We show experimentally that mass transport is limited by molecular reflection from the liquid/vapour interface below a certain length scale, which depends on the transmission probability of water molecules across the nanopores and on the condensation probability of a water molecule incident on the liquid surface. This fundamental yet elusive condensation property of water is measured under near-equilibrium conditions and found to decrease from 0.36 ± 0.21 at 30 °C to 0.18 ± 0.09 at 60 °C. These findings define the regime in which liquid/vapour interfaces govern nanofluidic transport and have implications for understanding mass transport in nanofluidic devices, droplets and bubbles, biological components and porous media involving liquid/vapour interfaces.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering
Nature Publishing Group
Lee, Jongho, Tahar Laoui, and Rohit Karnik. “Nanofluidic Transport Governed by the Liquid/vapour Interface.” Nature Nanotechnology 9, no. 4 (March 16, 2014): 317–323.
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