Cation-controlled permeation of charged polymers through nanocapillaries

F Faraji and M Neek-Amal and EC Neyts and FM Peeters, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 107, 034501 (2023).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.107.034501

Molecular dynamics simulations are used to study the effects of different cations on the permeation of charged polymers through flat capillaries with heights below 2 nm. Interestingly, we found that, despite being monovalent, Li+ , Na+ , and K+ cations have different effects on polymer permeation, which consequently affects their transmission speed throughout those capillaries. We attribute this phenomenon to the interplay of the cations' hydration free energies and the hydrodynamic drag in front of the polymer when it enters the capillary. Different alkali cations exhibit different surface versus bulk preferences in small clusters of water under the influence of an external electric field. This paper presents a tool to control the speed of charged polymers in confined spaces using cations.

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