Nonlinear current-voltage characteristics of nanochannels

Gilad Yossifon, Peter Mushenheim, Yu Chen Chang, Hsueh Chia Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Like ion channels, nanochannels are known to exhibit curious non-Ohmic current-voltage (I-V) characteristics with an approximate piece-wise constant differential resistance. Using a nanoslot model and a nonequilibrium ion transport theory, we attribute the nonlinear resistance to overlapping double layers inside and an extended polarized layer of space charge outside the nanochannel. The overlimiting current beyond a critical voltage is shown to develop when the polarized layer is destabilized by a microvortex instability at one entrance. By extending earlier nanochannel and polarized layer models to include this instability, nonideal ion permselectivity and field-focusing effect, quantitative predictions-together with explicit differential resistance expressions-are offered for the nonlinear I-V features of a nanochannel surrounded by microreservoirs from a simple pseudo-one-dimensional model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number046305
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


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