N. R. Aluru

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, United States

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Publications (209)586.9 Total impact

  • Ravi Bhadauria · Tarun Sanghi · N R Aluru
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    ABSTRACT: In this work, we formulate a one-dimensional isothermal hydrodynamic transport model for water, which is an extension to our recently proposed hydrodynamic model for Lennard-Jones type fluid [R. Bhadauria and N. R. Aluru, J. Chem. Phys. 139, 074109 (2013)]. Viscosity variations in confinement are incorporated by the local average density method. Dirichlet boundary conditions are provided in the form of slip velocity that depends upon the macroscopic interfacial friction coefficient. The value of this friction coefficient is computed using a novel generalized Langevin equation formulation that eliminates the use of equilibrium molecular dynamics simulation. Gravity driven flows of SPC/E water confined between graphene and silicon slit shaped nanochannels are considered as examples for low and high friction cases. The proposed model yields good quantitative agreement with the velocity profiles obtained from non-equilibrium molecular dynamics simulations.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · The Journal of Chemical Physics
  • Aravind Alwan · N R Aluru
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    ABSTRACT: Accurate uncertainty quantification in engineering systems requires the use of proper data-driven stochastic models that bear a good fidelity with respect to experimentally observed variations. This paper looks at a variety of modeling techniques to represent spatially varying uncertainties in a form that can be incorporated into numerical simulations. In the context of microelectromechanical systems, we consider spatial uncertainties at the device level in the form of surface roughness and at the wafer level in the form of non-uniformities that arise as a result of various microfabrication steps. We discuss methods to obtain roughness characterization data ranging from the use of a simple profilometer probe to imaging-based techniques for the extraction of digitized data from images. We model spatial uncertainties as second-order stochastic process and use Bayesian inference to estimate the model parameters from the input data. We apply the data-driven stochastic models generated from this process to micromechanical actuators and sensors in which these spatial uncertainties are likely to cause significant variation. These include an electrostatically-actuated torsion-spring micromirror, an electromechanical comb-drive actuator and a pressure sensor with a piezoresistive strain gauge. We show that the performance of these devices is sensitive to the presence of spatial uncertainties and a proper modeling of these uncertainties helps us make reliable predictions about the variation in device performance. Where data is available, we even show that the predicted variation can be validated against experimental observations, highlighting the significance of proper stochastic modeling in the analysis of such devices.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
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    ABSTRACT: Empirical potential-based quasi-continuum theory (EQT) provides a route to incorporate atomistic detail into continuum framework such as the Nernst-Planck equation. EQT can also be used to construct a grand potential functional for classical density functional theory (cDFT). The combination of EQT and cDFT provides a simple and fast approach to predict the inhomogeneous density, potential profiles, and thermodynamic properties of confined fluids. We extend the EQT-cDFT approach to confined fluid mixtures and demonstrate it by simulating a mixture of methane and hydrogen inside slit-like channels of graphene. We show that the EQT-cDFT predictions for the structure of the confined fluid mixture compare well with the molecular dynamics simulation results. In addition, our results show that graphene slit nanopores exhibit a selective adsorption of methane over hydrogen.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · The Journal of Chemical Physics
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    ABSTRACT: We discuss recent advances of the VOTCA package for systematic coarse-graining. Two methods have been implemented, namely the downhill simplex optimization and the relative entropy minimization. We illustrate the new methods by coarse-graining SPC/E bulk water and more complex water-methanol mixture systems. The CG potentials obtained from both methods are then evaluated by comparing the pair distributions from the coarse-grained to the reference atomistic simulations. In addition to the newly implemented methods, we have also added a parallel analysis framework to improve the computational efficiency of the coarse-graining process.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · PLoS ONE
  • S Y Mashayak · M H Motevaselian · N R Aluru
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    ABSTRACT: We present a continuum-based approach to predict the structure and thermodynamic properties of confined fluids at multiple length-scales, ranging from a few angstroms to macro-meters. The continuum approach is based on the empirical potential-based quasi-continuum theory (EQT) and classical density functional theory (cDFT). EQT is a simple and fast approach to predict inhomogeneous density and potential profiles of confined fluids. We use EQT potentials to construct a grand potential functional for cDFT. The EQT-cDFT-based grand potential can be used to predict various thermodynamic properties of confined fluids. In this work, we demonstrate the EQT-cDFT approach by simulating Lennard-Jones fluids, namely, methane and argon, confined inside slit-like channels of graphene. We show that the EQT-cDFT can accurately predict the structure and thermodynamic properties, such as density profiles, adsorption, local pressure tensor, surface tension, and solvation force, of confined fluids as compared to the molecular dynamics simulation results.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · The Journal of Chemical Physics
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    K. Min · A. Barati Farimani · N. R. Aluru
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    ABSTRACT: We report on electronic properties of water-filled fullerenes [H 2 O( n )@C60, H 2 O( n )@C180, and H 2 O( n )@C240] under mechanical deformation using density functional theory. Under a point load, energy gap change of empty and water-filled fullerenes is investigated. For C60 and H 2 O( n )@C60, the energy gap decreases as the tensile strain increases. For H 2 O( n )@C60, under compression, the energy gap decreases monotonously while for C60, it first decreases and then increases. Similar behavior is observed for other empty (C180 and C240) and water-filled [H 2 O( n )@C180 and H 2 O( n )@C240] fullerenes. The energy gap decrease of water-filled fullerenes is due to the increased interaction between water and carbon wall under deformation.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · MRS Communications
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    ABSTRACT: Biological nanopores have been extensively used for DNA base detection since these pores are widely available and tunable through mutations. Distinguishing bases of nucleic acids by passing them through nanopores has so far primarily relied on electrical signals-specifically, ionic currents through the nanopores. However, the low signal-to-noise ratio makes detection of ionic currents difficult. In this study, we show that the initially closed mechanosensitive channel of large conductance (MscL) protein pore opens for single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) translocation under an applied electric field. As each nucleotide translocates through the pore, a unique mechanical signal is observed—specifically, the tension in the membrane containing the MscL pore is different for each nucleotide. In addition to the membrane tension, we found that the ionic current is also different for the four nucleotide types. The initially closed MscL adapts its opening for nucleotide translocation due to the flexibility of the pore. This unique operation of MscL provides single nucleotide resolution in both electrical and mechanical signals. Finally, we also show that the speed of DNA translocation is roughly 1 order of magnitude slower in MscL compared to Mycobacterium smegmatis porin A (MspA), suggesting MscL to be an attractive protein pore for DNA sequencing.Keywords: DNA detection; sequencing; mechanosensitive channel of large conductance (MscL); membrane tension; ionic current; MspA
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters
  • Namjung Kim · N R Aluru
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    ABSTRACT: Advances made in the fabrication of micro/nano-electromechanical (M/NEM) devices over the last ten years necessitate the understanding of the attractive force that arises from quantum fluctuations (generally referred to as Casimir effects) [Casimir H B G 1948 Proc. K. Ned. Akad. Wet. 51 793]. The fundamental mechanisms underlying quantum fluctuations have been actively investigated through various theoretical and experimental approaches. However, the effect of the force on M/NEM devices has not been fully understood yet, especially in the transition region involving gaps ranging from 10 nm to 1 μm, due to the complexity of the force. Here, we numerically calculate the Casimir effects in M/NEM devices by using the Lifshitz formula, the general expression for the Casimir effects [Lifshitz E 1956 Sov. Phys. JETP 2 73]. Since the Casimir effects are highly dependent on the permittivity of the materials, the Kramer-Kronig relation [Landau L D, Lifshitz E M and Pitaevskii L P 1984 Electrodynamics of Continuous Media (New York: Pergamon Press)] and the optical data for metals and dielectrics are used in order to obtain the permittivity. Several simplified models for the permittivity of the materials, such as the Drude and Lorentz models [Jackson J D 1975 Classical Electrodynamics (New York: Wiley)], are also used to extrapolate the optical data. Important characteristic values of M/NEM devices, such as the pull-in voltage, pull-in gap, detachment length, etc, are calculated for devices operating in the transition region. Our results show that accurate predictions for the pull-in behaviour are possible when the Lifshitz formula is used instead of the idealized expressions for Casimir effects. We expand this study into the dynamics of M/NEM devices, so that the time and frequency response of M/NEM devices with Casimir effects can be explored.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Nanotechnology
  • T Sanghi · N R Aluru
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    ABSTRACT: In this work, we discuss a combined memory function equation (MFE) and generalized Langevin equation (GLE) approach (referred to as MFE/GLE formulation) to characterize thermal noise in confined fluids. Our study reveals that for fluids confined inside nanoscale geometries, the correlation time and the time decay of the autocorrelation function of the thermal noise are not significantly different across the confinement. We show that it is the strong cross-correlation of the mean force with the molecular velocity that gives rise to the spatial anisotropy in the velocity-autocorrelation function of the confined fluids. Further, we use the MFE/GLE formulation to extract the thermal force a fluid molecule experiences in a MD simulation. Noise extraction from MD simulation suggests that the frequency distribution of the thermal force is non-Gaussian. Also, the frequency distribution of the thermal force near the confining surface is found to be different in the direction parallel and perpendicular to the confinement. We also use the formulation to compute the noise correlation time of water confined inside a (6,6) carbon-nanotube (CNT). It is observed that inside the (6,6) CNT, in which water arranges itself in a highly concerted single-file arrangement, the correlation time of thermal noise is about an order of magnitude higher than that of bulk water.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · The Journal of Chemical Physics
  • K. Kunal · N.R. Aluru
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    ABSTRACT: We investigate the effect of size on intrinsic dissipation in nano-structures. We use molecular dynamics simulation and study dissipation under two different modes of deformation: stretching and bending mode. In the case of stretching deformation (with uniform strain field), dissipation takes place due to Akhiezer mechanism. For bending deformation, in addition to the Akhiezer mechanism, the spatial temperature gradient also plays a role in the process of entropy generation. Interestingly, we find that the bending modes have a higher Q factor in comparison with the stretching deformation (under the same frequency of operation). Furthermore, with the decrease in size, the difference in Q factor between the bending and stretching deformation becomes more pronounced. The lower dissipation for the case of bending deformation is explained to be due to the surface scattering of phonons. A simple model, for phonon dynamics under an oscillating strain field, is considered to explain the observed variation in dissipation rate. We also studied the scaling of Q factor with initial tension, in a beam under flexure. We develop a continuum theory to explain the observed results.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Journal of Applied Physics
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    ABSTRACT: We report here a detailed thermodynamic description of water molecules inside a biological water channel. Taking advantage of high-resolution molecular dynamics trajectories calculated for an aquaporin (AQP) channel, we compute the spatial translational and rotational components of water diffusion and entropy in AQP. Our results reveal that the spontaneous filling and entry of water into the pore in AQPs are driven by an entropic gain. Specifically, water molecules exhibit an elevated degree of rotational motion inside the pore, while their translational motion is slow compared with bulk. The partial charges of the lining asparagine residues at the conserved signature Asn-Pro-Ala motifs play a key role in enhancing rotational diffusion and facilitating dipole flipping of water inside the pore. The frequencies of the translational and rotational motions in the power spectra overlap indicating a strong coupling of these motions in AQPs. A shooting mechanism with diffusive behavior is observed in the extracellular region which might be a key factor in the fast conduction of water in AQPs.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Applied Physics Letters
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    ABSTRACT: Crosslinking can fundamentally change the mechanical properties of a linear glassy polymer. It has been experimentally observed that when lightly crosslinked, poly(methyl-methacrylate) (PMMA) has a characteristically more ductile response to mechanical loading than does linear PMMA despite having a higher glass transition temperature. Here, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are used to investigate conformational and energetic differences between linear PMMA and lightly crosslinked PMMA under shear deformation. As consistent with experiments, crosslinked PMMA is found to have a reduced yield stress relative to linear PMMA. Using the probing capabilities of our explicit atom MD approach, it is observed that while the crosslinks have a minimal direct energy contribution to the total system, they can alter how the main chains conform to macroscopic loading. In crosslinked PMMA, the backbone aligns more with the direction of external loading, thereby reducing the force applied to (and associated deformation of) the polymer bonds. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part B: Polym. Phys. 2014
    No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Journal of Polymer Science Part B Polymer Physics
  • Myung E Suk · N R Aluru
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    ABSTRACT: Graphene nanopore is a promising device for single molecule sensing, including DNA bases, as its single atom thickness provides high spatial resolution. To attain high sensitivity, the size of the molecule should be comparable to the pore diameter. However, when the pore diameter approaches the size of the molecule, ion properties and dynamics may deviate from the bulk values and continuum analysis may not be accurate. In this paper, we investigate the static and dynamic properties of ions with and without an external voltage drop in sub-5-nm graphene nanopores using molecular dynamics simulations. Ion concentration in graphene nanopores sharply drops from the bulk concentration when the pore radius is smaller than 0.9 nm. Ion mobility in the pore is also smaller than bulk ion mobility due to the layered liquid structure in the pore-axial direction. Our results show that a continuum analysis can be appropriate when the pore radius is larger than 0.9 nm if pore conductivity is properly defined. Since many applications of graphene nanopores, such as DNA and protein sensing, involve ion transport, the results presented here will be useful not only in understanding the behavior of ion transport but also in designing bio-molecular sensors.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · The Journal of Chemical Physics
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    K. Min · A. Barati Farimani · N.R. Aluru
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    ABSTRACT: We present the mechanical properties of H2O(n)@C60 under hydrostatic strain and a point load using Density Functional Theory. In each case, we performed mechanical tests under both tension and compression. The bulk modulus and elastic modulus increase as the number of water molecules increases. For fracture behavior, two mechanisms are observed: First, under compression, due to the interaction and bond formation between water and C60, structures with more water molecules begin to exhibit fracture at a lower strain. Second, under tension, fracture is initiated from the bond dissociation of C-C bonds on the C60 surface.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Applied Physics Letters
  • Aravind Alwan · N. R. Aluru
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    ABSTRACT: This paper presents a data-driven framework for performing uncertainty quantification (UQ) by choosing a stochastic model that accurately describes the sources of uncertainty in a system. This model is propagated through an appropriate response surface function that approximates the behavior of this system using stochastic collocation. Given a sample of data describing the uncertainty in the inputs, our goal is to estimate a probability density function (PDF) using the kernel moment matching (KMM) method so that this PDF can be used to accurately reproduce statistics like mean and variance of the response surface function. Instead of constraining the PDF to be optimal for a particular response function, we show that we can use the properties of stochastic collocation to make the estimated PDF optimal for a wide variety of response functions. We contrast this method with other traditional procedures that rely on the Maximum Likelihood approach, like kernel density estimation (KDE) and its adaptive modification (AKDE). We argue that this modified KMM method tries to preserve what is known from the given data and is the better approach when the available data is limited in quantity. We test the performance of these methods for both univariate and multivariate density estimation by sampling random datasets from known PDFs and then measuring the accuracy of the estimated PDFs, using the known PDF as a reference. Comparing the output mean and variance estimated with the empirical moments using the raw data sample as well as the actual moments using the known PDF, we show that the KMM method performs better than KDE and AKDE in predicting these moments with greater accuracy. This improvement in accuracy is also demonstrated for the case of UQ in electrostatic and electrothermomechanical microactuators. We show how our framework results in the accurate computation of statistics in micromechanical systems.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2013 · Journal of Computational Physics
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    Vishal V R Nandigana · N R Aluru
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    ABSTRACT: The integration of a microchannel with an ion-selective nanochannel exhibits nonlinear current-voltage characteristics owing to the concentration polarization effects. In this paper, an efficient computational impedance spectroscopic technique (CIS) is developed using an area averaged multi-ion transport model (MM). Using this technique, we investigate the ion transport dynamics in the Ohmic and non-Ohmic regions. Under no external DC bias and in the Ohmic regime, we observe two distinct arcs. The low frequency diffusional arc characterizes the diffusion-transport and the electrical double layer (EDL) charging effects at the interface of the micro nanochannel, while the high frequency geometric arc characterizes the electric migration and displacement current effects inside the nanochannel and in the microchannel. Further, we observe an anomalous inductive arc at low frequencies (fL(m)(2)/D <= 1), in the overlimiting regime. This arc is primarily attributed to the phase effects between the first harmonic contribution of the total ionic concentration and the electric field in the induced space charge region. The microscopic diffusion boundary layer (DBL) lengths observed in the microchannel are also efficiently characterized from the impedance spectrum. Equivalent circuit models are designed to interpret the impedance response.
    Full-text · Dataset · Oct 2013
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    A Barati Farimani · Yanbin Wu · N R Aluru
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    ABSTRACT: Encapsulation of a single water molecule in a buckyball (C60) can provide fundamental insights into the properties of water. Investigation of a single water molecule is feasible through its solitary confinement in C60. In this paper, we performed a detailed study of the properties and dynamics of a single water molecule in a buckyball using DFT and MD simulations. We report on the enhancement of rotational diffusion and entropy of a water molecule in C60, compared to a bulk water molecule. H2O@C60 has zero translational diffusion and terahertz revolution frequency. The harmonic, high amplitude rotation of a single water molecule in C60 is compared to stochastic behavior of bulk water molecules. The combination of large rotational and negligible translational motion of water in C60 creates new opportunities in nanotechnology applications.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
  • K. Kunal · N. R. Aluru
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    ABSTRACT: Periodic stretching of a string, under adiabatic condition (no thermal coupling with the environment), will increase its temperature. This represents the case of intrinsic damping where the energy associated with stretching motion is converted into thermal energy. We study this phenomenon in a graphene nanoribbon (GNR), a nano-string. We utilize classical molecular dynamics and study the scaling of dissipation rate (Q factor) with frequency. The dissipation is shown to result from strong non-linear coupling between the stretching vibration and the out-of-plane thermal phonons. A Langevin dynamics framework is developed to describe the out-of-plane phonon dynamics under in-plane stretching. The dissipation mechanism is analyzed using this framework. From the analysis, a bi-relaxation time model is obtained to explain the observed scaling of Q factor with frequency. We also compute the size and temperature dependence of Q factor. The decrease in Q factor with decrease in size (width) is shown to result from the elastic softening of GNR.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Journal of Applied Physics
  • Ravi Bhadauria · N R Aluru
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    ABSTRACT: We propose a quasi-continuum hydrodynamic model for isothermal transport of Lennard-Jones fluid confined in slit shaped nanochannels. In this work, we compute slip and viscous contributions independently and superimpose them to obtain the total velocity profile. Layering of fluid near the interface plays an important role in viscous contribution to the flow, by apparent viscosity change along the confining dimension. This relationship necessitates computing density profiles, which is done using the recently proposed empirical-potential based quasi-continuum theory [A. V. Raghunathan, J. H. Park, and N. R. Aluru, J. Chem. Phys. 127, 174701 (2007)]. Existing correlations for density dependent viscosity provided by Woodcock [AIChE J. 52, 438 (2006)] are used to compute viscosity profile in the nanopores. A Dirichlet type slip boundary condition based on a static Langevin friction model describing center-of-mass motion of fluid particles is used, the parameters of which are dependent on the fluctuations of total wall-fluid force from an equilibrium molecular dynamics simulation. Different types of corrugated surfaces are considered to study wall-fluid friction effects on boundary conditions. Proposed hydrodynamic model yields good agreement of velocity profiles obtained from non-equilibrium molecular dynamics simulations for gravity driven flow.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · The Journal of Chemical Physics
  • K Kunal · N R Aluru
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    ABSTRACT: The mechanism of dissipation operative at the nanoscale remains poorly understood for most cases. In this work, using molecular dynamics simulations, we show that the unstable out-of-plane mode leads to the absorption of energy from the in-plane motion in graphene. The in-plane vibration modulates the potential energy profile for the out-of-plane modes. For the fundamental out-of-plane mode in the loading direction, the minimum of the potential energy shifts because of in-plane compressive strain. The structure takes a finite amount of time to relax to the new potential energy configuration. A hysteresis in the out-of-plane dynamics is observed when the time period of in-plane excitation becomes comparable to the time required for this relaxation. Increasing the stiffness of the out-of-plane modes by giving an initial tensile strain leads to a considerable decrease in dissipation rate.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2013 · Nanotechnology

Publication Stats

6k Citations
586.90 Total Impact Points


  • 1999-2015
    • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
      • • Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering
      • • Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
      Urbana, Illinois, United States
  • 2006
    • Illinois Institute of Technology
      Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • 1996-2001
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      • • Research Laboratory of Electronics
      • • Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1993-1996
    • Stanford University
      • Center for Integrated Systems
      Palo Alto, California, United States