Open Access

Electrically tunable solid-state silicon nanopore ion filter

Nanoscale Research Letters20062:61

DOI: 10.1007/s11671-006-9031-7

Received: 27 September 2006

Accepted: 8 November 2006

Published: 19 December 2006


We show that a nanopore in a silicon membrane connected to a voltage source can be used as an electrically tunable ion filter. By applying a voltage between the heavily doped semiconductor and the electrolyte, it is possible to invert the ion population inside the nanopore and vary the conductance for both cations and anions in order to achieve selective conduction of ions even in the presence of significant surface charges in the membrane. Our model based on the solution of the Poisson equation and linear transport theory indicates that in narrow nanopores substantial gain can be achieved by controlling electrically the width of the charge double layer.


Ion channels Artificial nanopore Silicon materials Nanofluidics




This work was supported by the NIRT-NSF Grant No. CCR 02-10843 and the NIH Grant PHS1-R01-HG003713A.

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


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© to the authors 2006