Ultrathin Metal-Organic Framework Membrane Production by Gel-Vapour Deposition

Nat Commun. 2017 Sep 1;8(1):406. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00544-1.


Ultrathin, molecular sieving membranes composed of microporous materials offer great potential to realize high permeances and selectivities in separation applications, but strategies for their production have remained a challenge. Here we show a route for the scalable production of nanometre-thick metal-organic framework (MOF) molecular sieving membranes, specifically via gel-vapour deposition, which combines sol-gel coating with vapour deposition for solvent-/modification-free and precursor-/time-saving synthesis. The uniform MOF membranes thus prepared have controllable thicknesses, down to ~17 nm, and show one to three orders of magnitude higher gas permeances than those of conventional membranes, up to 215.4 × 10-7 mol m-2 s-1 Pa-1 for H2, and H2/C3H8, CO2/C3H8 and C3H6/C3H8 selectivities of as high as 3,400, 1,030 and 70, respectively. We further demonstrate the in situ scale-up processing of a MOF membrane module (30 polymeric hollow fibres with membrane area of 340 cm2) without deterioration in selectivity.MOF-based membranes have shown great promise in separation applications, but producing thin membranes that allow for high fluxes remains challenging. Here, the authors use a gel-vapour deposition strategy to fabricate composite membranes with less than 20 nm thicknesses and high gas permeances and selectivities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't