Laboratoire de Physique Théorique de la Matière Condensée

Paul Robin (Institute of Science and Technology Austria)

11.03.2024 10:45 - 11:45


Ion transport at the nanoscale: from ion-electron coupling to artificial ion channels


The transport of charged species is key to many processes in cellular biology, from sensory detection to osmoregulation and neurotransmission. Despite its apparent simplicity, the dynamics of ions in very confined spaces (biological ion channels, carbon nanotubes, atomic-size pores...) still holds many mysteries. In all these cases, non-linear and dynamical effects occur when ions cross a nanometric channel. There is therefore a need for a better understanding of the dynamics of ion transport at the molecular scale. In this talk, I will present how progess in nanofluidics has enabled to build new types of channels, with dynamical properties that resemble that of biological pores (voltage gating, memory effects, etc.). In particular, I will focus on types of atomically small channels where fluctuations of water and ions can be coupled to the electronic properties of the walls. I will show how this coupling can be harnessed to develop ‘iontronic’ devices, where one can control flows of ions to carry out computations. In turn, I will also show how a better understanding of fluctuations in nanoscale charge transport can allow to decypher some properties of biological and artificial pores, a long-standing problem.