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From Behavior Of Water On Hydrophobic Graphene Surfaces To Ultra-Confinement Of Water In Carbon Nanotubes

Alia Mejri, Guillaume Herlem, Fabien Picaud

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In recent years and with the achievement of nanotechnologies, the development of experiments based on carbon nanotubes has allowed to increase the ionic permeability and/or selectivity in nanodevices. However, this new technology opens the way to many questionable observations, to which theoretical work can answer using several approximations. One of them concerns the appearance of a negative charge on the carbon surface, when the latter is apparently neutral. Using first-principles density functional theory combined with molecular dynamics, we develop here several simulations on different systems in order to understand the reactivity of the carbon surface in low or ultra-high confinement. According to our calculations, there is high affinity of the carbon atom to the hydrogen ion in every situation, and to a lesser extent for the hydroxyl ion. The latter can only occur when the first hydrogen attack has been achieved. As a consequence, the functionalization of the carbon surface in the presence of an aqueous medium is activated by its protonation, then allowing the reactivity of the anion.