Nanopores, either biological, solid-state, or ultrathin pierced graphene, are powerful tools which are central to many applications, from sensing of biological molecules to desalination and fabrication of ion selective membranes. However, the interpretation of transport through low aspect-ratio nanopores becomes particularly complex as 3D access effects outside the pores are expected to play a dominant role. Here, we report both experiments and theory showing that, in contrast to naïve expectations, long-range mutual interaction across an array of nanopores leads to a non-extensive, sub-linear scaling of the global conductance on the number of pores N. A scaling analysis demonstrates that the N-dependence of the conductance depends on the topology of the network. It scales like G ∼ N/log N for a 1D line of pores, and like

The ubiquitous aquaporin channels are able to conduct water across cell membranes, combining the seemingly antagonist functions of a very high selectivity with a remarkable permeability. Whereas molecular details are obvious keys to perform these tasks, the overall efficiency of transport in such nanopores is also strongly limited by viscous dissipation arising at the connection between the nanoconstriction and the nearby bulk reservoirs. In this contribution, we focus on these so-called entrance effects and specifically examine whether the characteristic hourglass shape of aquaporins may arise from a geometrical optimum for such hydrodynamic dissipation. Using a combination of finite-element calculations and analytical modeling, we show that conical entrances with suitable opening angle can indeed provide a large increase of the overall channel permeability. Moreover, the optimal opening angles that maximize the permeability are found to compare well with the angles measured in a large variety of aquaporins. This suggests that the hourglass shape of aquaporins could be the result of a natural selection process toward optimal hydrodynamic transport. Finally, in a biomimetic perspective, these results provide guidelines to design artificial nanopores with optimal performances.

VL - 110 IS - 41 ER -