From normal to anomalous diffusion of water molecules in narrow carbon nanotubes with defects, gases, and salts

YJ Wang and JG Chen, EPL, 139, 51002 (2022).

DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/ac86f2

In this letter, we study the diffusion of water molecules inside narrow carbon nanotubes in the presence of nanotube defects, gas molecules and salt ions by using molecular dynamics simulations. Mean square displacement (MSD) with a power-law fitting parameter alpha, and the probability distribution function (PDF) with an alpha-stable distribution parameter alpha, of water molecules are calculated. It is found that within the diffusion time scale, water molecules exhibit a superdiffusion behavior with alpha > 1 inside a perfect nanotube and the superdiffusion is weakened in the presence of gas molecules and salt ions. Meanwhile, a normal diffusion behavior with alpha = 1 is observed inside a defective nanotube, and it is replaced by a subdiffusion behavior with alpha < 1 when gas molecules and salt ions are involved. PDF of water molecules is found to be Gaussian-like with alpha = 2 subject to superdiffusion and normal diffusion, while it becomes a center-peaked and long-tailed Levy distribution with alpha < 2 subject to subdiffusion. Furthermore, it is found that the diffusion behavior of water molecules approaches normal diffusion as the radius size of the nanotube increases. Our result implies anomalous transport behavior of water in nanochannels due to the common presence of defects, gases and salts in nanochannels. Copyright (C) 2022 EFLA

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