Finite domain effects in steady state solutions of Poisson-nernst-Planck equations

Doron Elad, And N.I.R. Gavish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Steady-state solutions of the Poisson-Nernst-Planck model are studied in the asymptotic limit of large, but finite, domains. By using asymptotic matching for integrals, we derive an approximate solution for the steady-state equation with exponentially small error with respect to the domain size. The approximation is used to quantify the extent of finite domain effects over the full parameter space. Surprisingly, already for small applied voltages (several thermal voltages), we found that finite domain effects are significant even for large domains (on the scale of hundreds of Debye lengths). Namely, the solution near the boundary, i.e., the boundary layer (electric double layer) structure, is sensitive to the domain size even when the domain size is many times larger than the characteristic width of the boundary layer. We focus on this intermediate regime between confined domains and ``essentially infinite"" domains, and study how the domain size affects the solution properties. We conclude by providing an outlook to higher dimensions with applications to ion channels and porous electrodes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1030-1050
Number of pages21
JournalSIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019


  • Finite domain effects
  • Matched asymptotic expansion
  • Poisson-Nernst-Planck
  • Range-splitting
  • Singular perturbations

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Mathematics


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