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A 3D nm-thin biomimetic membrane for ultimate molecular separation

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Abstract

Multi-functional membranes with high permeance and selectivity that can mimic nature's designs have tremendous industrial and bio-medical applications. Here, we report a novel concept of a 3D nanometer (nm)-thin membrane that can overcome the shortcomings of conventional membrane structures. Our 3D membrane is composed of two three-dimensionally interwoven channels that are separated by a continuous nm-thin amorphous TiO2 layer. This 3D architecture dramatically increases the surface area by 6000 times, coupled with an ultra-short diffusion distance through the 24 nm-thin selective layer that allows for ultrafast gas and water transport, ∼900 l m−2 h−1 bar−1. The 3D membrane also exhibits a very high ion rejection (R ∼ 100% for potassium ferricyanide) due to the combined size- and charge-based exclusion mechanisms. The combination of high ion rejection and ultrafast permeation makes our 3DM superior to the state-of-the-art high-flux membranes whose performances are limited by the flux-rejection tradeoff. Furthermore, its ultimate Li+ selectivity over polysulfide or gas can potentially solve major technical challenges in energy storage applications, such as lithiumsulfur or lithiumO2 batteries.

Graphical abstract: A 3D nm-thin biomimetic membrane for ultimate molecular separation

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
24 May 2020
Accepted
29 Jun 2020
First published
29 Jun 2020

Mater. Horiz., 2020, Advance Article
Article type
Communication

A 3D nm-thin biomimetic membrane for ultimate molecular separation

T. Wang, S. Liang, Z. Qi, M. Biener, T. Voisin, J. A. Hammons, I. C. Tran, M. A. Worsley, T. Braun, Y. M. Wang, J. Biener, T. Baumann, S. Kim and J. Ye, Mater. Horiz., 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D0MH00853B

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