2D MXene membranes with biomimetic sub-nanochannels for enhanced cation sieving

New article on cation sieving membranes using MXene nanosheets has been published in Nature Communications.


Xu, RongmingKang, YuanZhang, WeimingPan, Bingcai, and Zhang, Xiwang


Membranes with high ion permeability and selectivity are of considerable interest for sustainable water treatment, resource extraction and energy storage. Herein, inspired by K+ channel of streptomyces A (KcsA K+), we have constructed cation sieving membranes using MXene nanosheets and Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) molecules as building blocks. Numerous negatively charged oxygen atoms of EDTA molecules and 6.0 Å two-dimensional (2D) sub-nanochannel of MXene nanosheets enable biomimetic channel size, chemical groups and tunable charge density for the resulting membranes. The membranes show the capability to recognize monovalent/divalent cations, achieving excellent K+/Mg2+ selectivity of 121.2 using mixed salt solution as the feed, which outperforms other reported membranes under similar testing conditions and transcends the current upper limit. Characterization and simulations indicate that the cation recognition effect of EDTA and partial dehydration effects play critical roles in cations selective sieving and increasing the local charge density within the sub-nanochannel significantly improves cation selectivity. Our findings provide a theoretical basis for ions transport in sub-nanochannels and an alternative strategy for design ions separation membranes.

Read the full publication on Nature Communications via the link below.


Nature Communications

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