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Osmosis, from molecular insights to large-scale applications
Sophie Marbach, Lyderic Bocquet
Phys. Chem. - 48 3102-3144 - DOI:10.1039/C8CS00420J - 2019
Osmosis is a universal phenomenon occurring in a broad variety of processes and fields. It is the archetype of entropic forces, both trivial in its fundamental expression - the van 't Hoff perfect gas law - and highly subtle in its physical roots. While osmosis is intimately linked with transport across membranes, it also manifests itself as an interfacial transport phenomenon: the so-called diffusio-osmosis and -phoresis, whose consequences are presently actively explored for example for the manipulation of colloidal suspensions or the development of active colloidal swimmers. Here we give a global and unifying view of the phenomenon of osmosis and its consequences with a multi-disciplinary perspective. Pushing the fundamental understanding of osmosis allows to propose new perspectives for different fields and we highlight a number of examples along these lines, for example introducing the concepts of osmotic diodes, active separation and far from equilibrium osmosis, raising in turn fundamental questions in the thermodynamics of separation. The applications of osmosis are also obviously considerable and span very diverse fields. Here we discuss a selection of phenomena and applications where osmosis shows great promises: osmotic phenomena in membrane science (with recent developments in separation, desalination, reverse osmosis for water purification thanks in particular to the emergence of new nanomaterials); applications in biology and health (in particular discussing the kidney filtration process); osmosis and energy harvesting (in particular, osmotic power and blue energy as well as capacitive mixing); applications in detergency and cleaning, as well as for oil recovery in porous media.
Atomic rheology of gold nanojunctions
Jean Comtet, Antoine Lainé, Antoine Niguès, Lydéric Bocquet & Alessandro Siria
Nature - 569 393–397 - DOI : 10.1038/s41586-019-1178-3 - 2019
Despite extensive investigations of dissipation and deformation processes in micro- and nano-sized metallic samples1,2,3,4,5,6,7, the mechanisms at play during the deformation of systems with ultimate (molecular) size remain unknown. Although metallic nanojunctions, which are obtained by stretching metallic wires down to the atomic level, are typically used to explore atomic-scale contacts5,8,9,10,11, it has not been possible until now to determine the full equilibrium and non-equilibrium rheological flow properties of matter at such scales. Here, by using an atomic-force microscope equipped with a quartz tuning fork, we combine electrical and rheological measurements on ångström-size gold junctions to study the non-linear rheology of this model atomic system. By subjecting the junction to increasing subnanometric deformations we observe a transition from a purely elastic regime to a plastic one, and eventually to a viscous-like fluidized regime, similar to the rheology of soft yielding materials12,13,14, although orders of magnitude different in length scale. The fluidized state furthermore exhibits capillary attraction, as expected for liquid capillary bridges. This shear fluidization cannot be captured by classical models of friction between atomic planes15,16 and points to an unexpected dissipative behaviour of defect-free metallic junctions at ultimate scales. Atomic rheology is therefore a powerful tool that can be used to probe the structural reorganization of atomic contacts.

Article Published: 08 April 2019 Ionic Coulomb blockade as a fractional Wien effect
Nikita Kavokine, Sophie Marbach, Alessandro Siria & Lydéric Bocquet
Nat. Nanotechnol. - 14 573–578 - - 2019
Recent advances in nanofluidics have allowed the exploration of ion transport down to molecular-scale confinement, yet artificial porins are still far from reaching the advanced functionalities of biological ion machinery. Achieving single ion transport that is tunable by an external gate—the ionic analogue of electronic Coulomb blockade—would open new avenues in this quest. However, an understanding of ionic Coulomb blockade beyond the electronic analogy is still lacking. Here, we show that the many-body dynamics of ions in a charged nanochannel result in quantized and strongly nonlinear ionic transport, in full agreement with molecular simulations. We find that ionic Coulomb blockade occurs when, upon sufficient confinement, oppositely charged ions form ‘Bjerrum pairs’, and the conduction proceeds through a mechanism reminiscent of Onsager’s Wien effect. Our findings open the way to novel nanofluidic functionalities, such as an ion pump based on ionic Coulomb blockade, inspired by its electronic counterpart.
Ionic Coulomb blockade as a fractional Wien effect
Nikita Kavokine, Sophie Marbach, Alessandro Siria & Lydéric Bocquet
Nat. Nanotechnol. - 14 573–578 - - 2019
Recent advances in nanofluidics have allowed the exploration of ion transport down to molecular-scale confinement, yet artificial porins are still far from reaching the advanced functionalities of biological ion machinery. Achieving single ion transport that is tunable by an external gate—the ionic analogue of electronic Coulomb blockade—would open new avenues in this quest. However, an understanding of ionic Coulomb blockade beyond the electronic analogy is still lacking. Here, we show that the many-body dynamics of ions in a charged nanochannel result in quantized and strongly nonlinear ionic transport, in full agreement with molecular simulations. We find that ionic Coulomb blockade occurs when, upon sufficient confinement, oppositely charged ions form ‘Bjerrum pairs’, and the conduction proceeds through a mechanism reminiscent of Onsager’s Wien effect. Our findings open the way to novel nanofluidic functionalities, such as an ion pump based on ionic Coulomb blockade, inspired by its electronic counterpart.
Molecular streaming and its voltage control in ångström-scale channels
Timothée Mouterde, Anthony R. Poggioli, Ashok Keerthi, Shafat Hussain Dar
Nature - 567(7746) 87-90 - DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-0961-5 - 2019
Over the past decade, the ability to reduce the dimensions of fluidic devices to the nanometre scale (by using nanotubes1–5 or nanopores6–11, for example) has led to the discovery of unexpected water- and ion-transport phenomena12–14. More recently, van der Waals assembly of two-dimensional materials¹⁵ has allowed the creation of artificial channels with ångström-scale precision¹⁶. Such channels push fluid confinement to the molecular scale, wherein the limits of continuum transport equations¹⁷ are challenged. Water films on this scale can rearrange into one or two layers with strongly suppressed dielectric permittivity18,19 or form a room-temperature ice phase²⁰. Ionic motion in such confined channels²¹ is affected by direct interactions between the channel walls and the hydration shells of the ions, and water transport becomes strongly dependent on the channel wall material²². We explore how water and ionic transport are coupled in such confinement. Here we report measurements of ionic fluid transport through molecular-sized slit-like channels. The transport, driven by pressure and by an applied electric field, reveals a transistor-like electrohydrodynamic effect. An applied bias of a fraction of a volt increases the measured pressure-driven ionic transport (characterized by streaming mobilities) by up to 20 times. This gating effect is observed in both graphite and hexagonal boron nitride channels but exhibits marked material-dependent differences. We use a modified continuum framework accounting for the material-dependent frictional interaction of water molecules, ions and the confining surfaces to explain the differences observed between channels made of graphene and hexagonal boron nitride. This highly nonlinear gating of fluid transport under molecular-scale confinement may offer new routes to control molecular and ion transport, and to explore electromechanical couplings that may have a role in recently discovered mechanosensitive ionic channels²³.
Beyond the Trade-Off: Dynamic Selectivity in Ionic Transport and Current Rectification
A. Poggioli, A. Siria, L. Bocquet
Phys. Chem. - 123,5 1171-1185 - doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcb.8b11202 - 2019
Traditionally, ion selectivity in nanopores and nanoporous membranes is understood to be a consequence of Debye overlap, in which the Debye screening length is comparable to the nanopore radius somewhere along the length of the nanopore(s). This criterion sets a significant limitation on the size of ion-selective nanopores, as the Debye length is on the order of 1–10 nm for typical ionic concentrations. However, the analytical results we present here demonstrate that surface conductance generates a dynamical selectivity in ion transport, and this selectivity is controlled by so-called Dukhin, rather than Debye, overlap. The Dukhin length, defined as the ratio of surface to bulk conductance, reaches values of hundreds of nanometers for typical surface charge densities and ionic concentrations, suggesting the possibility of designing large-nanopore (10–100 nm), high-conductance membranes exhibiting significant ion selectivity. Such membranes would have potentially dramatic implications for the efficiency of osmotic energy conversion and separation techniques. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this mechanism of dynamic selectivity leads ultimately to the rectification of ionic current, rationalizing previous studies, showing that Debye overlap is not a necessary condition for the occurrence of rectifying behavior in nanopores.
Gradients of Rac1 nanoclusters support spatial patterns of Rac1 signaling
Amanda Remorino, Simon De Beco, Fanny Cayrac, Fahima Di Federico, Gaetan Cornilleau, Alexis Gautreau, Maria Carla Parrini, Jean-Baptiste Masson, Maxime Dahan, Mathieu Coppey
Cell Reports - 21(7) 1922-1935 - DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.10.069 - 2019
Rac1 is a small RhoGTPase switch that orchestrates actin branching in space and time and protrusion/retraction cycles of the lamellipodia at the cell front during mesenchymal migration. Biosensor imaging has revealed a graded concentration of active GTP-loaded Rac1 in protruding regions of the cell. Here, using single-molecule imaging and super-resolution microscopy, we show an additional supramolecular organization of Rac1. We find that Rac1 partitions and is immobilized into nanoclusters of 50-100 molecules each. These nanoclusters assemble because of the interaction of the polybasic tail of Rac1 with the phosphoinositide lipids PIP2 and PIP3. The additional interactions with GEFs and possibly GAPs, downstream effectors, and other partners are responsible for an enrichment of Rac1 nanoclusters in protruding regions of the cell. Our results show that subcellular patterns of Rac1 activity are supported by gradients of signaling nanodomains of heterogeneous molecular composition, which presumably act as discrete signaling platforms.
A new microfluidic approach for the one-step capture, amplification and label-free quantification of bacteria from raw samples
Iago Pereiro, Amel Bendali, Sanae Tabnaoui, Lucile Alexandre, Jana Srbova, Zuzana Bilkova, Shane Deegan, Lokesh Joshi, Jean-Louis Viovy, Laurent Malaquin, Bruno Dupuy and Stéphanie Descroix
Chem. Sci. - 8(2) 1329-1336 - DOI: 10.1039/C6SC03880H - 2019
A microfluidic method to specifically capture and detect infectious bacteria based on immunorecognition and proliferative power is presented. It involves a microscale fluidized bed in which magnetic and drag forces are balanced to retain antibody-functionalized superparamagnetic beads in a chamber during sample perfusion. Captured cells are then cultivated in situ by infusing nutritionally-rich medium. The system was validated by the direct one-step detection of Salmonella Typhimurium in undiluted unskimmed milk, without pre-treatment. The growth of bacteria induces an expansion of the fluidized bed, mainly due to the volume occupied by the newly formed bacteria. This expansion can be observed with the naked eye, providing simple low-cost detection of only a few bacteria and in a few hours. The time to expansion can also be measured with a low-cost camera, allowing quantitative detection down to 4 cfu (colony forming unit), with a dynamic range of 100 to 107 cfu ml−1 in 2 to 8 hours, depending on the initial concentration. This mode of operation is an equivalent of quantitative PCR, with which it shares a high dynamic range and outstanding sensitivity and specificity, operating at the live cell rather than DNA level. Specificity was demonstrated by controls performed in the presence of a 500× excess of non-pathogenic Lactococcus lactis. The system's versatility was demonstrated by its successful application to the detection and quantitation of Escherichia coli O157:H15 and Enterobacter cloacae. This new technology allows fast, low-cost, portable and automated bacteria detection for various applications in food, environment, security and clinics.
Magnetic fluidized bed for solid phase extraction in microfluidic systems
Pereiro, Iago ; Tabnaoui, Sanae ; Fermigier, Marc ; du Roure, Olivia ; Descroix, Stephanie ; Viovy, Jean-Louis ; Malaquin, Laurent
Lab. Chip - 17, 9 1603-1615 - DOI: 10.1039/C7LC00063D - 2019
Fluidization, a process in which a granular solid phase behaves like a fluid under the influence of an imposed upward fluid flow, is routinely used in many chemical and biological engineering applications. It brings, to applications involving fluid–solid exchanges, advantages such as high surface to volume ratio, constant mixing, low flow resistance, continuous operation and high heat transfer. We present here the physics of a new miniaturized, microfluidic fluidized bed, in which gravity is replaced by a magnetic field created by an external permanent magnet, and the solid phase is composed of magnetic microbeads with diameters ranging from 1 to 5 μm. These beads can be functionalized with different ligands, catalysts or enzymes, in order to use the fluidized bed as a continuous purification column or bioreactor. It allows flow-through operations at flow rates ranging from 100 nL min−1 up to 5 μL min−1 at low driving pressures (<100 mbar) with intimate liquid/solid contact and a continuous recirculation of beads for enhanced target capture efficiencies. The physics of the system presents significant differences as compared to conventional fluidized beds, which are studied here. The effects of magnetic field profile, flow chamber shape and magnetic bead dipolar interactions on flow regimes are investigated, and the different regimes of operation are described. Qualitative rules to obtain optimal operation are deduced. Finally, an exemplary use as a platform for immunocapture is provided, presenting a limit of detection of 0.2 ng mL−1 for 200 μL volume samples.
The power of solid supports in multiphase and droplet-based microfluidics: towards clinical applications
Serra, M; Ferraro, D; Pereiro, I; Viovy, J-L; Descroix, S
Lab. Chip - 17 3979-3999 - DOI:10.1039/c7lc00582b - 2019
Multiphase and droplet microfluidic systems are growing in relevance in bioanalytical-related fields, especially due to the increased sensitivity, faster reaction times and lower sample/reagent consumption of many of its derived bioassays. Often applied to homogeneous (liquid/liquid) reactions, innovative strategies for the implementation of heterogeneous (typically solid/liquid) processes have recently been proposed. These involve, for example, the extraction and purification of target analytes from complex matrices or the implementation of multi-step protocols requiring efficient washing steps. To achieve this, solid supports such as functionalized particles (micro or nanometric) presenting different physical properties (e.g. magnetic, optical or others) are used for the binding of specific entities. The manipulation of such supports with different microfluidic principles has both led to the miniaturization of existing biomedical protocols and the development of completely new strategies for diagnostics and research. In this review, multiphase and droplet-based microfluidic systems using solid suspensions are presented and discussed with a particular focus on: i) working principles and technological developments of the manipulation strategies and ii) applications, critically discussing the level of maturity of these systems, which can range from initial proofs of concept to real clinical validations.

400 publications.