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ACS Nano. 2014 Jun 24;8(6):6304-11. doi: 10.1021/nn501786m. Epub 2014 May 28.

Ultrafast molecule separation through layered WS(2) nanosheet membranes.

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State Key Laboratory of Silicon Materials, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Zhejiang University , Hangzhou 310027, China.


Two-dimensional layered materials have joined in the family of size-selective separation membranes recently. Here, chemically exfoliated tungsten disulfide (WS2) nanosheets are assembled into lamellar thin films and explored as an ultrafast separation membrane for small molecules with size of about 3 nm. Layered WS2 membranes exhibit 5- and 2-fold enhancement in water permeance of graphene oxide membranes and MoS2 laminar membranes with similar rejection, respectively. To further increase the water permeance, ultrathin nanostrands are used as templates to generate more fluidic channel networks in the WS2 membrane. The water permeation behavior and separation performance in the pressure loading-unloading process reveal that the channels created by the ultrathin nanostrands are cracked under high pressure and result in a further 2-fold increase of the flux without significantly degrading the rejection for 3 nm molecules. This is supported by finite-element-based mechanical simulation. These layered WS2 membranes demonstrate up to 2 orders of magnitude higher separation performance than that of commercial membranes with similar rejections and hold the promising potential for water purification.


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