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Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 179;

On Developing Field-Effect-Tunable Nanofluidic Ion Diodes with Bipolar, Induced-Charge Electrokinetics

State Key Laboratory of Robotics and System, Harbin Institute of Technology, West Da-zhi Street 92, Harbin 150001, Heilongjiang, China
School of Electronics and Control Engineering, Chang’an University, Middle-Section of Nan’er Huan Road, Xi’an 710064, Shaanxi, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 March 2018 / Revised: 7 April 2018 / Accepted: 10 April 2018 / Published: 12 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano-Chip Electrokinetics, Volume II)
PDF [7413 KB, uploaded 3 May 2018]


We introduce herein the induced-charge electrokinetic phenomenon to nanometer fluidic systems; the design of the nanofluidic ion diode for field-effect ionic current control of the nanometer dimension is developed by enhancing internal ion concentration polarization through electrochemical transport of inhomogeneous inducing-counterions resulting from double gate terminals mounted on top of a thin dielectric layer, which covers the nanochannel connected to microfluidic reservoirs on both sides. A mathematical model based on the fully-coupled Poisson-Nernst-Plank-Navier-Stokes equations is developed to study the feasibility of this structural configuration causing effective ionic current rectification. The effect of various physiochemical and geometrical parameters, such as the native surface charge density on the nanochannel sidewalls, the number of gate electrodes (GE), the gate voltage magnitude, and the solution conductivity, permittivity, and thickness of the dielectric coating, as well as the size and position of the GE pair of opposite gate polarity, on the resulted rectification performance of the presented nanoscale ionic device is numerically analyzed by using a commercial software package, COMSOL Multiphysics (version 5.2). Three types of electrohydrodynamic flow, including electroosmosis of 1st kind, induced-charge electroosmosis, and electroosmosis of 2nd kind that were originated by the Coulomb force within three distinct charge layers coexist in the micro/nanofluidic hybrid network and are shown to simultaneously influence the output current flux in a complex manner. The rectification factor of a contrast between the ‘on’ and ‘off’ working states can even exceed one thousand-fold in the case of choosing a suitable combination of several key parameters. Our demonstration of field-effect-tunable nanofluidic ion diodes of double external gate electrodes proves invaluable for the construction of a flexible electrokinetic platform for ionic current control and may help transform the field of smart, on-chip, integrated circuits. View Full-Text
Keywords: nanofluidics; induced-charge electrokinetic phenomenon; linear and nonlinear electroosmotic streaming; concentration polarization nanofluidics; induced-charge electrokinetic phenomenon; linear and nonlinear electroosmotic streaming; concentration polarization

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Tao, Y.; Liu, W.; Ren, Y.; Hu, Y.; Li, G.; Ma, G.; Wu, Q. On Developing Field-Effect-Tunable Nanofluidic Ion Diodes with Bipolar, Induced-Charge Electrokinetics. Micromachines 2018, 9, 179.

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