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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.
The glass transition temperature in thin film depends strongly on film thickness and interaction with the substrate and it is normally a priori not clear which way it deviates from the bulk value. This causes new challenge in the technological advancement of smaller and smaller electronic devices. In this study molecular dynamics simulations of a low-molecular weight organic glass former, ortho-terphenyl, are carried out in bulk and freestanding films. The main motivation is to provide insight into the confinement effect without interface interactions. Based on earlier models of ortho-terphenyl we developed an atomistic model for bulk simulations. The model reproduces the literature data from simulations as well as experiments. After characterizing the bulk model we form a freestanding film. This film gives us the opportunity to study the dynamical heterogeneity near the glass transition by in-plane mobility and reorientation dynamics. We also develop a structurally coarse-grained model for this glass former based on our atomistic model to study bigger system for a longer period of time.
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