Two-dimensional ion channel based soft-matter piezoelectricity

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  • ReceivedOct 15, 2014
  • AcceptedNov 11, 2014
  • PublishedDec 12, 2014



This work was financially supported by the National Research Fund for Fundamental Key Projects (2011CB935700, 2013CB934104), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21103201, 11290163, 91127025, 21121001), and the Key Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KJZD-EW-M01).

Interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Contributions statement

Guo W and Jiang L contributed to the general disscussion and wrote the manuscript together.

Author information

Wei Guo is currently an associate Professor at the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (TIPCCAS). He received a PhD in physics from Peking University in 2009. Afterwards, he joined Prof. Lei Jiang’s group as an Pssistant Professor at the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences. In 2014, he moved to TIPCCAS. His scientific interests are focused on theoretical investigation of nanofluidic transport phenomena, fabrication of intelligent nanofluidic devices, and their applications in advanced energy conversion systems.

Lei Jiang is currently a Professor at the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ICCAS), and Dean of the School of Chemistry and Environment, Beihang University. He received his BSc degree (1987), MSc degree (1990), and PhD degree (1994) from Jilin University of China (Jintie Li’s group). He then worked as a postdoctoral fellow in Professor Akira Fujishima’s group in Tokyo University. In 1996, he worked as a senior researcher in Kanagawa Academy of Sciences and Technology under Professor Kazuhito Hashimoto. He joined ICCAS as part of the Hundred Talents Program in 1999. He was elected academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2009 and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World in 2012. His scientific interests are focused on bioinspired, smart, multiscale interfacial (BSMI) materials.


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  • Figure 1

    Fluidic transport in layered graphene membrane is confined only in the normal direction of the channel wall, termed 2D nanofluidics. The nanoscaled channel width (h ~ 0.4–10 nm) and surface-charged properties endow the 2D nanochannels with selective transport of molecular targets, whose size (d) is smaller than h, and counter-ionic species. To date, the layered graphene membrane finds potential for both fundamental and practical research.

  • Figure 2

    Applications of the layered GHM. (a) The GHM is permeable to liquid water, while rejecting organic dyes. (b) Being the electrode material for a supercapacitor, the interlayer spacing can be reduced from 6 to 0.4 nm, greatly promoting the packing density, and therefore the energy density. (c) The GHM selectively transports counterions rather than co-ions. Driven by an electrolyte flow, the GHM converts hydraulic flow into electric current, showing piezoelectric ion transport effect. Images were reproduced with permission from Refs. [22], [10] and [2], respectively.

  • Figure 3

    Future perspectives of the piezoelectric transport phenomena in 2D layered soft materials. The research in this field can be advanced in the following three aspects: firstly, the material building blocks can be extended from graphene and GO to other carbon allotropes (such as graphdiyne and graphyne), transition metal dichalcogenides (such as MoS2), and some layered silicates (such as mica). Then, chemical modification is essential to realize functionality. For example, electrostatic-, thermo-, and light-responsive molecular moieties are currently employed to modify the graphene-based soft materials in our lab. In this case, the functionalized 2D soft nanofluidic materials can show response to the piezoelectric driving force. Finally, in addition to the mechanical pressure, the driving force used in the 2D piezoelectric nanofluidic system can be generally extended to chemical gradient, temperature difference, light irradiation, etc.


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