Self-energy-limited ion transport in subnanometer channels

Douwe Jan Bonthuis, Jingshan Zhang, Breton Hornblower, Jérôme Mathé, Boris I. Shklovskii, Amit Meller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


The current-voltage characteristics of the α-Hemolysin protein pore during the passage of single-stranded DNA under varying ionic strength C are studied experimentally. We observe strong blockage of the current, weak superlinear growth of the current as a function of voltage, and a minimum of the current as a function of C. These observations are interpreted as the result of the ion electrostatic self-energy barrier originating from the large difference in the dielectric constants of water and the lipid bilayer. The dependence of DNA capture rate on C also agrees with our model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number128104
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2006


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