Carbon nanotube (CNT) pores, which mimic the structure of the aquaporin channels, support extremely high water transport rates that make them strong candidates for building artificial water channels and high-performance membranes. Here, we measure water and ion permeation through 0.8-nm-diameter CNT porins (CNTPs) - short CNT segments embedded in lipid membranes - under optimized experimental conditions. Measured activation energy of water transport through the CNTPs agrees with the barrier values typical for single-file water transport. Well-tempered metadynamics simulations of water transport in CNTPs also report similar activation energy values and provide molecular-scale details of the mechanism for water entry into these channels. CNTPs strongly reject chloride ions and show water-salt permselectivity values comparable to those of commercial desalination membranes.
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