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Opportunity at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Sub-nanometer pores in two-dimensional materials for nanofluidics, sensing and energy applications


Material Measurement Laboratory, Applied Chemicals and Materials Division

RO# Location
50.64.72.C0694 Boulder, CO

Please note: This Agency only participates in the February and August reviews.


name email phone
Alex Smolyanitsky 303.497.6577


Recent advances in fabrication make solid sub-nanometer pores in two-dimensional (2D) materials a reality. Such pores, often resulting from merely a dozen or so atomic sites ejected from the host 2D lattice, promise to revolutionize a diverse range of applied areas, including water desalination, biomolecule sensing, and power generation.

Our group at NIST has recently started a collaboration with UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory aimed at investigating 2D sub-nm pores with properties engineered at the atomic level for specific applications. Qualified candidates are encouraged to propose theoretical and computational projects focused on the fundamental and applied topics involving solid-state 2D sub-nm pores, listed as follows:

  • Ionic and molecular transport through sub-nm pores in boron nitride, transition metal dichalcogenides, graphene, and other 2D materials.
  • Chemically inert (self-passivated) solid nanopores.
  • Highly selective nanopores for efficient osmotic power generation.
  • Nanopore-based sensing of biomolecules, including DNA and denatured proteins. 
  • Mechanosensitive and streaming ionic transport.
  • Water desalination and salinity control.
  • Nanofluidic logic elements.

We also welcome proposals on related topics not specifically listed above.

Selected publications

  1. A. Smolyanitsky and B. Luan, Nanopores in Atomically Thin 2D Nanosheets Limit Aqueous Single-Stranded DNA Transport. Phys. Rev. Lett., 2021. 127(13): p. 138103.
  2. A. Fang, et al., J. Phys. Chem. C. Mechanosensitive Ion Permeation across Subnanoporous MoS2 Monolayers 2019, 123(6): p. 3588–3593.
  3. A. Fang, et al., Highly mechanosensitive ion channels from graphene-embedded crown ethers. Nature Materials, 2019. 18(1): p. 76-81.
  4. A. Smolyanitsky, et al., Aqueous Ion Trapping and Transport in Graphene-Embedded 18-Crown-6 Ether Pores. ACS Nano, 2018. 12(7): p. 6677-6684.
nanopore; nanofluidics; chemistry; physics; chemical engineering; materials science; nanomechanics; 2D materials; theory; simulation; computational; density functional theory; molecular dynamics; transition state theory


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$74,950.00 $3,000.00
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