Understanding the variation of nanofluidic behavior in the presence of an external electric field is critical for controlling and designing nanofluidic devices. By studying the critical infiltration pressure of liquids into hydrophobic nanopores using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and experiments, important insights can be gained on the variation of the effective liquid-solid interfacial tension with the magnitude and sign of electric field, as well as its coupling with the pore size and the solid and liquid species. It is found that the effective hydrophobicity reduces with the increase of electric intensity and/or pore size, and the behavior is asymmetric with respect to the direction of the electric field. The underlying molecular mechanisms are revealed via the study of the density profile, contact angle, and surface tension of confined liquid molecules.
The work is supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (50928601), World Class University program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (R32-2008-000-20042-0), Changjiang Scholar Program from Ministry of Education of China, and National Science Foundation (CMMI-0643726).