PerspectiveIonic Transport

Two-dimensional nanofluidics

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Science  25 Mar 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6280, pp. 1395-1396
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf5289

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The remarkable electronic properties of graphene and related two-dimensional (2D) materials result from the confinement of electrons within the material. Similarly, the interstitial space between 2D materials can enable the 2D confinement of ions and electrolytes and alter their transport. Many different 2D sheets can be obtained by exfoliation of natural layered materials (1), and an exfoliation-reconstruction strategy can convert powders of layered materials into continuous, robust bulk forms in which lamellar nanochannels occupy a substantial volume fraction (up to several tens of percent). Nanofluidics, which enables the manipulation of confined ions and electrolytes, has applications in electrochemical energy conversion and storage, biosensing, and water purification.