Large-area graphene-based nanofiltration membranes by shear alignment of discotic nematic liquid crystals of graphene oxide

Nat Commun. 2016 Mar 7;7:10891. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10891.


Graphene-based membranes demonstrating ultrafast water transport, precise molecular sieving of gas and solvated molecules shows great promise as novel separation platforms; however, scale-up of these membranes to large-areas remains an unresolved problem. Here we demonstrate that the discotic nematic phase of graphene oxide (GO) can be shear aligned to form highly ordered, continuous, thin films of multi-layered GO on a support membrane by an industrially adaptable method to produce large-area membranes (13 × 14 cm(2)) in <5 s. Pressure driven transport data demonstrate high retention (>90%) for charged and uncharged organic probe molecules with a hydrated radius above 5 Å as well as modest (30-40%) retention of monovalent and divalent salts. The highly ordered graphene sheets in the plane of the membrane make organized channels and enhance the permeability (71 ± 5 l m(-2) hr(-1) bar(-1) for 150 ± 15 nm thick membranes).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't