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Self-assembled soft nanoparticle membranes with programmed free volume hierarchy

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Abstract

Pore hierarchy in polymers is crucial for applications spanning nano-medicine, sustainable energy, and molecular separation. However, polymer free volume hierarchy with ultra-fine sizes (<5 Å) and modularity remains an important but elusive subject of research due to the dynamic, transient and random nature of free volume cavities. Here we show the construction of hierarchical free volume through the self-assembly of structured polyelectrolyte complex nanoparticles (∼40 nm) in the vacuum filtration process. Membranes with tunable thickness and well-defined nanoparticle structures are prepared, featuring enhanced mechanical strength, flexibility, and more importantly, programmed free volume consisting of intra-particle (r1 = 3.22 Å) and inter-particle (r2 = 4.45 Å) cavities. Both free volume elements are effectively tuned and the collective fractional free volume is improved 8 times, leading to membrane molecular channels outperforming other polymer membranes in pervaporation dehydration of ethanol.

Graphical abstract: Self-assembled soft nanoparticle membranes with programmed free volume hierarchy

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Publication details

The article was received on 05 Sep 2018, accepted on 25 Oct 2018 and first published on 26 Oct 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8TA08618D
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018, Advance Article
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    Self-assembled soft nanoparticle membranes with programmed free volume hierarchy

    J. Wu, N. Wang, W. Hung, Q. Zhao, K. Lee and Q. An, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C8TA08618D

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