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Nanoporous devices constitute emerging platforms for selective molecule separation and sensing, with great potential for high throughput and economy in manufacturing and operation. Acting as mass transfer diodes similar to a solid-state device based on electron conduction, conical pores are shown to have superior performance characteristics compared to traditional cylindrical pores. Such phenomena, however, remain to be exploited for molecular separation. Here we present performance results from silicon membranes created by a new synthesis technique based on interferometric lithography. This method creates millimeter sized planar arrays of uniformly tapered nanopores in silicon with pore diameter 100 nm or smaller, ideally-suited for integration into a multi-scale microfluidic processing system. Molecular transport properties of these devices are compared against state-of-the-art polycarbonate track etched (PCTE) membranes. Mass transfer rates of up to fifteen-fold greater than commercial sieve technology are obtained. Complementary results from molecular dynamics simulations on molecular transport are reported.
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