Polarity-dependent electrochemically controlled transport of water through carbon nanotube membranes

Zuankai Wang, Lijie Ci, Li Chen, Saroj Nayak, Pulickel M. Ajayan, Nikhil Koratkar

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

171 Citations (Scopus)


We demonstrate here that water can be efficiently wet and pumped through superhydrophobic aligned multiwalled nanotube membranes by application of a small positive dc bias. At a critical bias (∼1.7 V), with the membrane acting as anode, there is an abrupt transition from a superhydrophobic to hydrophilic state. Interestingly, this phenomenon is strongly polarity dependent; for a negative bias applied to the membrane, 2 orders of magnitude higher bias is required for the transition. The polarity and voltage-dependent wetting that we report could be used to controllably wick fluids through nanotube membranes and could find various applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-702
Number of pages6
JournalNano Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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