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Qualitative properties of ionic flows via Poisson-Nernst-Planck systems with Bikerman's local hard-sphere potential: Ion size effects

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  • We study a quasi-one-dimensional steady-state Poisson-Nernst-Planck model for ionic flows through membrane channels with fixed boundary ion concentrations and electric potentials. We consider two ion species, one positively charged and one negatively charged, and assume zero permanent charge. Bikerman's local hard-sphere potential is included in the model to account for ion size effects on the ionic flow. The model problem is treated as a boundary value problem of a singularly perturbed differential system. Our analysis is based on the geometric singular perturbation theory but, most importantly, on specific structures of this concrete model. The existence of solutions to the boundary value problem for small ion sizes is established and, treating the ion sizes as small parameters, we also derive approximations of individual fluxes and I-V (current-voltage) relations, from which qualitative properties of ionic flows related to ion sizes are studied. A detailed characterization of complicated interactions among multiple and physically crucial parameters for ionic flows, such as boundary concentrations and potentials, diffusion coefficients and ion sizes, is provided.
    Mathematics Subject Classification: Primary: 34A26, 34B16, 34D15; Secondary: 37D10, 92C35.


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