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Hierarchical Optimization of High-Performance Biomimetic and Bioinspired Membranes

Song, Woochul, Tu, Yu-Ming, Oh, Hyeonji, Samineni, Laxmicharan, Kumar, Manish
Langmuir 2018 v.35 no.3 pp. 589-607
aquaporins, artificial membranes, biomimetics, geometry, hydrophobicity, permeability, water purification
Biomimetic and bioinspired membranes have emerged as an innovative platform for water purification and aqueous separations. They are inspired by the exceptional water permeability (∼10⁹ water molecules per second per channel) and perfect selectivity of biological water channels, aquaporins. However, only few successes have been reported for channel-based membrane fabrication due to inherent challenges of realizing coherence between channel design at the angstrom level and development of scalable membranes that maintain these molecular properties at practice-relevant scales. In this article, we feature recent progress toward practical biomimetic membranes, with the review organized along a hierarchical structural perspective that biomimetic membranes commonly share. These structures range from unitary pore shapes and tubular hydrophobic channel geometries to self-assembled bilayer structures and finally to macroscale membranes covering a size range from the angstrom, to the micrometer scale, and finally to the centimeter and larger scales. To maximize the advantage of water channel implementation into membranes, each feature needs to be optimized in an appropriate manner that provides a path to successful scale-up to achieve high performance in practical biomimetic and bioinspired membranes.