Tuneable and Stimuli Responsive Membranes

Membrane separations are currently playing a crucial role in major societal and environmental global challenges, namely in the areas of water treatment, reduction in emissions, biomedical applications, as well as energy saving through more efficient membrane-based unit operations. Polymer membrane separations and/or purifications will therefore have a substantial impact on global sustainability in the near future.

 

Membrane separations are currently playing a crucial role in major societal and environmental global challenges, namely in the areas of water treatment, reduction in emissions, biomedical applications, as well as energy saving through more efficient membrane-based unit operations. Polymer membrane separations and/or purifications will therefore have a substantial impact on global sustainability in the near future.

Within this Research Area, activities currently focus on

(1)Membranes for gas and vapor separations. We study mixed-matrix membranes composed of non-volatile ionic liquids with tuneable physico-chemical properties, and block copolymers as a non-porous support structure. Such membranes may exhibit increased permeabilities without sacrificing selectivity. Composite membranes and thin films incorporating graphene and graphene oxide are explored for sensors and separations.

 

 

(2) Stimuli-responsive/biomimicking membranes. Bio-mimicking membranes alter their permeability upon exposure to an external molecular stimulus according to a receptor-ligand interaction, as is found in Nature. The laboratory has pioneered the generation of DNA-aptamer functionalized inorganic templates with oligonucleotides for a controlled release of delivery upon a molecular stimulus. We are currently exploring this concept further for membrane materials with the aim of bringing the concept close to commercialization.

         

(3) Membranes in water treatment processes. Membrane water treatment processes currently have severe limitations because of the fouling of the membrane surface by waterborne compounds ranging from inorganic materials to biological matter. The advanced surface characterization methods set-up in our laboratory are employed for elucidating at an early stage the underlying physico-chemical phenomena. We aim to use the know-how gained for developing alternative anti-fouling concepts.

         

 

 


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