Nature provides inspiration for researchers developing selective membranes

Nanowerk  July 23, 2020
According to a team of researchers in the US (Yale University, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, UC Merced) in the future membranes may be engineered with the ability to select which substances they allow through, even to the point of distinguishing between very similar ions such as potassium and sodium. They introduce the challenges of state-of-the-art membranes with subnanometre pores to achieve high selectivity between solutes, analyse experimental and theoretical literature to discuss the molecular-level mechanisms that contribute to energy barriers for solute transport through subnanometre pores. They conclude by providing principles and guidelines for designing next-generation single-species selective membranes that are inspired by ion-selective biological channels.
Although the current method provides an energy efficient way to remove salts and impurities from water, the inability to select which ions are held back means that some of them must be added back in for drinking water to be safe. Harnessing their level of specificity is more efficient and safer…read more. TECHNICAL ARTICLE

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