Solitons transport water through narrow carbon nanotubes

Thomas B. Sisan*, Seth H Lichter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Transformative technologies for desalination and chemical separations call for understanding molecular transport through man-made and biological nanochannels. Using numerical simulation of single-file flow of water through carbon nanotubes, we find that flow is due to fast-moving density variations (solitons) that are additive so flow rate is proportional to number of solitons. Simulation results match predictions from a theoretical model for soliton propagation. From 1-300 K flow rates increase as temperature decreases. Our results build a fundamentally new understanding of nanochannel flows and suggest new principles for the design of nanoscale devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number044501
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 27 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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