Understanding water transport mechanisms at the nanoscale level remains a challenge for theoretical chemical physics. Major advances in chemical synthesis have allowed us to discover new artificial water channels, rivaling with or even surpassing water conductance and selectivity of natural protein channels. In order to interpret experimental features and understand microscopic determinants for performance improvements, numerical approaches based on all-atom molecular dynamics simulations and enhanced sampling methods have been proposed. In this study, we quantify the influence of microscopic observables, such as channel radius and hydrogen bond connectivity, and of meso-scale features, such as the size of self-assembly blocks, on the permeation rate of a self-assembled nanocrystal-like artificial water channel. Although the absolute permeation rate extrapolated from these simulations is overestimated by one order of magnitude compared to the experimental measurement, the detailed analysis of several observed conductive patterns in large assemblies opens new pathways to scalable membranes with enhanced water conductance for the future design.
Molecular dynamics simulations reveal statistics and microscopic mechanisms of water permeation in membrane-embedded artificial water channel nanoconstructs
Arthur Hardiagon, Samuel Murail, Li-Bo Huang, Arie van der Lee, Fabio Sterpone, Mihail Barboiu, Marc Baaden; Molecular dynamics simulations reveal statistics and microscopic mechanisms of water permeation in membrane-embedded artificial water channel nanoconstructs. J. Chem. Phys. 14 May 2021; 154 (18): 184102. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0044360
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