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Surface Charge Density Determination of Single Conical Nanopores Based on Normalized Ion Current Rectification

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journal contribution
posted on 22.02.2016, 08:38 authored by Juan Liu, Maksim Kvetny, Jingyu Feng, Dengchao Wang, Baohua Wu, Warren Brown, Gangli Wang
Current rectification is well known in ion transport through nanoscale pores and channel devices. The measured current is affected by both the geometry and fixed interfacial charges of the nanodevices. In this article, an interesting trend is observed in steady-state current–potential measurements using single conical nanopores. A threshold low-conductivity state is observed upon the dilution of electrolyte concentration. Correspondingly, the normalized current at positive bias potentials drastically increases and contributes to different degrees of rectification. This novel trend at opposite bias polarities is employed to differentiate the ion flux affected by the fixed charges at the substrate–solution interface (surface effect), with respect to the constant asymmetric geometry (volume effect). The surface charge density (SCD) of individual nanopores, an important physical parameter that is challenging to measure experimentally and is known to vary from one nanopore to another, is directly quantified by solving Poisson and Nernst–Planck equations in the simulation of the experimental results. The flux distribution inside the nanopore and the SCD of individual nanopores are reported. The respective diffusion and migration translocations are found to vary at different positions inside the nanopore. This knowledge is believed to be important for resistive pulse sensing applications because the detection signal is determined by the perturbation of the ion current by the analytes.