Electrostatic interactions in charged nanoslits within an explicit solvent theory
Within a dipolar Poisson-Boltzmann theory including electrostatic correlations, we consider the effect of explicit solvent structure on solvent and ion partition confined to charged nanopores. We develop a relaxation scheme for the solution of this highly non-linear integro-differential equation for the electrostatic potential. The scheme is an extension of the approach previously introduced for simple planes (Buyukdagli and Blossey 2014 J. Chem. Phys. 140 234903) to nanoslit geometry. We show that the reduced dielectric response of solvent molecules at the membrane walls gives rise to an electric field significantly stronger than the field of the classical Poisson-Boltzmann equation. This peculiarity associated with non-local electrostatic interactions results in turn in an interfacial counterion adsorption layer absent in continuum theories. The observation of this enhanced counterion affinity in the very close vicinity of the interface may have important impacts on nanofluidic transport through charged nanopores. Our results indicate the quantitative inaccuracy of solvent implicit nanofiltration theories in predicting the ionic selectivity of membrane nanopores.