Project owner 03499 Chair: Petros Koumoutsakos
02644 Institute: Institut für Computational Science, direkt
02150 Department: Departement Informatik, direkt
Project author(s) Petros Koumoutsakos
Project ID 6648
Project status Ongoing (2001-04-23)
Participating researchers ETH Researcher(s): Evangelos Kotsalis
Jens Honoré Walther
Pedro Gaston Gonnet
Thomas Ulrich Werder
Urs Rudolf Zimmerli
Funding sources Funding source 1: ETH internal grant
Funding source 2: SNF
Funding source 3: KTI
Funding source 4: Own ressources of the professorship
Funding source 5: Industry
Funding source 6: Others
Project description Nanoscale Fluid Mechanics is the study of fluid (gas,liquid) flow around and inside nanoscale systems. Since terrestrial biological systems have evolved in water and are mostly composed (up to 99%) of water, uncovering the secrets of nanoscale flows is crucial in understanding origins of life.

The exploitation of information available from fundamental studies can lead to the development of nanoscale devices, such as biomolecular sensors and actuators for in-situ exploration. The developmnt of engineering flow devices for the nanoscale is termed Nanofluidics. nanofluidics is envisioned as a key technology for designing engineering devices for biological applications, such as biomedical devices(e.g. nanoexplorers, cell manipulators, etc.) in which the dominant biomolecular transportprocess is carried out by natural and forced convections. Understanding the transport processesin and around biomolecular sensing devices will greatly increase the probability of finding target molecules and identifying important biological processes in the cellular and subcellularlevel in isolated or high background noise environments.

We study the nanoscale fluid mechanics for the design of nanoscale biomolecular sensors and actuators by developing models and simulation tools, and performing simulations in conjunction with experiments. Our goal is to develop tools to simulate generalized nanofluidic systems as well as to explore specific nanoscale flows which will lead to the development of biomolecular sensors or devicescapable of manipulating biomolecules in the form of molecular sieves, biosensors, etc. We study the canonical problem of carbon nanotube and its interaction with (bio)molecular flows. We are developing the necessary computational tools for simulating biomolecular flows in and around nanotubes, and collaborate with experimental groups to verify the simulationsas well as explore concepts for nanofluidic devices.

The research is divided into two major tasks. The first task will be studying the physics of interactions between nanotubes and fluids. Under this task, we develop models and algorithmsto simulate flows in and around carbon nanotubes at various conditionsof temperature and pressure. In the second task, we study and explore some novel concepts for nanofluidic devices using both simulations and experiments. Included in these concepts are biomolecular sieves and nanopumps. These studies will provide the basis for a rational design of nanoscale biomolecular sensors and actuators.

Graphics Graphics 1: Hydrophobic Hydration of Carbon Nanotubes
Graphics 2: Water Droplet Contact Angle Inside Carbon nanotube
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