Competitive entry of sodium and potassium into nanoscale pores

James J. Cannon, Dai Tang, Nahmkeon Hur, Daejoong Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


We have studied the competitive entry of potassium and sodium into carbon nanotubes using molecular dynamics simulations. Our results demonstrate how a combination of strong sodium hydration coupled with strong potassium-chlorine interaction leads to enhanced potassium selectivity at certain diameters. We detail the reasons behind this, and show how variation of nanotube diameter can cause a switch to sodium selectivity, or even cause a decrease in overall ion entry despite an increase in diameter. These results demonstrate the importance of considering inter-ion dependence in the theoretical study of pore selectivity and show that, with careful design, the practical separation of sodium and potassium is possible using diameter variation alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12252-12256
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - Sept 30 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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