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Selective nanopores in graphene dramatically improve desalination and purification

RATE THIS! +34
Posted in Science on 2nd Mar, 2014 01:16 AM by AlexMuller

A team of researchers at MIT, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and in Saudi Arabia succeeded in creating subnanoscale pores in a sheet of graphene, a development that could lead to ultrathin filters for improved desalination or water purification. 

 

The new work, led by graduate student Sean O’Hern and associate professor of mechanical engineering Rohit Karnik, is the first step toward actual production of such a graphene filter.
 
Making these minuscule holes in graphene, a hexagonal array of carbon atoms, like atomic-scale chicken wire, occurs in a two-stage process. First, the graphene is bombarded with gallium ions, which disrupt the carbon bonds.
 
Then, the graphene is etched with an oxidizing solution that reacts strongly with the disrupted bonds, producing a hole at each spot where the gallium ions struck. By controlling how long the graphene sheet is left in the oxidizing solution, the MIT researchers can control the average size of the pores.
 
A big limitation in existing nanofiltration and reverse-osmosis desalination plants, which use filters to separate salt from seawater, is their low permeability: Water flows very slowly through them. The graphene filters, being much thinner, yet very strong, can sustain a much higher flow.
 
“We’ve developed the first membrane that consists of a high density of subnanometer-scale pores in an atomically thin, single sheet of graphene,” O’Hern says.

Tags: waterwater purificationdesalinationgraphenenanotechnologysea

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-02
+1
Good progress, having pure water is an essential requirement and this new technology using graphene will be useful- providing, of course, that is cost effective
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-02
+2
Yes, both the required membrane size and costs for the application of producing pure water may be a limitation at present. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-02
+1
For some other applications, such as for biofiltration, size or cost are not as critical. They suggest the use for removal of unreacted reagents from DNA - helpful Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-02
+2
Graphene is a promising material and there is a lot interest in graphene, graphene oxide, and other materials for possible use in solar cells, thermoelectric devices, and water filtration, among a number of other applications
4 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-02
+1
They say that the treatment greatly enhances graphene oxide’s ability to absorb visible light and this is a significant improvement that could be important for its use, for example, as solar cells. Could be an important energy source for the future! Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-02
+0
This will make graphene as a material of huge potential for use in solar cells, thermoelectric devices, solar thermal fuels, and desalination filters.....and more...
Great prospect
Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-02
+0
It is interesting that researchers are thinking about exploring biological applications of improved graphene, such as sensors for disease agents in the bloodstream, or delivery systems for targeting insoluble drugs to specific areas of the body. This could be very exciting and useful Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-02
+0
Good progress, having pure water is an essential requirement and this new technology using graphene will be useful- providing, of course, that is cost effective Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2016-05-06
+0
This forum needed shkaing up and you've just done that. Great post! Reply


 

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