Enhanced diffusion on oscillating surfaces through synchronization

Jin Wang, Wei Cao, Ming Ma*, Quanshui Zheng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The diffusion of molecules and clusters under nanoscale confinement or absorbed on surfaces is the key controlling factor in dynamical processes such as transport, chemical reaction, or filtration. Enhancing diffusion could benefit these processes by increasing their transport efficiency. Using a nonlinear Langevin equation with an extensive number of simulations, we find a large enhancement in diffusion through surface oscillation. For helium confined in a narrow carbon nanotube, the diffusion enhancement is estimated to be over three orders of magnitude. A synchronization mechanism between the kinetics of the particles and the oscillating surface is revealed. Interestingly, a highly nonlinear negative correlation between diffusion coefficient and temperature is predicted based on this mechanism, and further validated by simulations. Our results provide a general and efficient method for enhancing diffusion, especially at low temperatures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number022141
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number2
StatePublished - 26 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


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