Polyamide nanofiltration membrane with highly uniform sub-nanometre pores for sub-1 Å precision separation

Journal: Nature Communications

Published: 2020-04-24

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-15771-2

Affiliations: 10

Authors: 10

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Research Highlight

Sub-nanometre separations

© Yagi Studio/Getty

© Yagi Studio/Getty

A simple surfactant is the key to producing high-performance polymer-based nanofiltration membranes.

Polymer membranes punctured by nanoscale pores can quickly separate mixtures of molecules, allowing only the smaller molecule in the mixture to pass through the pores. The more uniform the size of the pores, the more precisely the membrane can separate molecules of a closely related size.

Soochow University researchers have shown that a high uniformity of pore sizes can be achieved by adding surfactants to the reaction system used to make the nanofiltration membrane.

Nanofiltration membranes are typically synthesized by dissolving one reactant in water, and the other in an organic solvent. The reactants meet only at their interface, where they form a thin polymer sheet.

Adding the surfactant facilitated greater and faster mixing of the two reactants at their interface, ensuring highly uniform pore size in the resulting nanofiltration membrane.

Supported content

  1. Nature Communications 11, 2015 (2020). doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-15771-2
Institutions Share
Soochow University, China 0.23
Chung Yuan Christian University (CYCU), Taiwan 0.17
CAS Center for Excellence in Nanoscience, NCNST CAS, China 0.16
Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nano-Bionics (SINANO), CAS, China 0.16
Vanderbilt University (VU), United States of America (USA) 0.15
Yale University, United States of America (USA) 0.10
National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST), Taiwan 0.03