Coupled electrokinetic fluxes in a single nanochannel for energy conversion

Abstract : Coupled electrokinetic phenomena within nanochannel are of interest for energy harvestingand production of electricity based on the controlled mixing of river water with sea water known as "blue energy". The origin of the phenomena is related to interaction with charged walls and transport of ions within the so called Debye layer. This work aims at a better understanding of the physics and transport phenomena in this layer associated with solution confined in nanochannel.A specific instrumentation has been developed during this thesis to study the mechanisms governing coupled nanofluics fluxes. The idea is to characterize simultaneously the mass transport within the nanochannel and the electrical current driven through the nanochannel by the application of either salinity difference , pressure difference or voltage difference across the channel. The thesis is divided into three parts.In the first part, a custom made flow cell and experimental conditions to control and measure various fluxes is presented. The capability of cell to measure current or voltage under applied pressure or salinity gradient is presented taking the benefit of commercial nanoporous Nafion membrane.The second part is focused on an easy way of preparation of nanochannel sample in the form of single chip, in which nanochannel is interfaced to micro and macroscopic world. A well-controlled, 1.4µm long nanochannel of conical geometry with a maximum aspect ratio of 10 is fabricated. The minimum apex size of nanochannel achieved here is 50 nm which is about 30 times less than the length of channel. The presence of electrode directly at the interface of nano to micro cavity allow to perform electrical characterization of nanochannel with high precision.The third part of the thesis is devoted to the development of a method for the direct measurement of flow rate as low as 10 pL/min across a single nanochannel. This measurement approach combined with electrical measurement, could be used, in presence of pressure, voltage or salinity gradient, to measure the flow rate and the electrical current across a single nanochannel simultaneously and independently.
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Preeti Sharma. Coupled electrokinetic fluxes in a single nanochannel for energy conversion. Fluid Dynamics [physics.flu-dyn]. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017GREAY100⟩. ⟨tel-02000980⟩

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