With recent growing interest in biomimetic smart nanochannels, a biological sensory transduction in response to external stimuli has been of particular interest in the development of biomimetic nanofluidic systems. Here we demonstrate the MXene-based subnanometer ion channels that convert external temperature changes to electric signals via preferential diffusion of cations under a thermal gradient. In particular, coupled with a photothermal conversion feature of MXenes, an array of the nanoconfined Ti3C2Tx ion channels can capture trans-nanochannel diffusion potentials under a light-driven axial temperature gradient. The nonisothermal open-circuit potential across channels is enhanced with increasing cationic permselectivity of confined channels, associated with the ionic concentration or pH of permeant fluids. The photothermoelectric ionic response (evaluated from the ionic Seebeck coefficient) reached up to 1 mV·K–1, which is comparable to biological thermosensory channels, and demonstrated stability and reproducibility in the absence and presence of an ionic concentration gradient. With advantages of physicochemical tunability and easy fabrication process, the lamellar ion conductors may be an important nanofluidic thermosensation platform possibly for biomimetic sensory systems.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: Research reported in this work was supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).