Rapid and Precise Molecular Nanofiltration Using Ultra-Thin-Film Membranes Derived from 6,6′-Dihydroxy-2,2′-biphenyldiamine

Youcai Chen, Wenxiong Shi, Shao Lu Li*, Mengfan Wang, Jian Wang, Shuang Hao, Genghao Gong, Chunchun Ye*, Neil B. McKeown, Yunxia Hu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

A key challenge in efficient molecular separation is fabricating large-scale, highly selective polymeric membranes with precise pore control at the molecular scale. Herein, a new contorted monomer 6,6′-dihydroxy-2,2′-biphenyldiamine (DHBIPDA) is introduced as a building block to generate cross-linked, ultra-thin microporous nanofilms (sub-10 nm) via interfacial polymerization, enabling rapid, and precise molecular nanofiltration. Using diacyl chloride (TPC) as the cross-linker instead of trimesoyl chloride (TMC) significantly reduces the pore sizes within the membranes and achieves a narrower pore distribution due to a semi-crystalline structure. The film structures are confirmed using comprehensive characterization techniques including wide-angle X-ray scattering (WAXS), X-ray diffraction (XRD), positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy (PALS), CO2 adsorption analysis, and molecular-scale simulation. The DHBIPDA/TPC and DHBIPDA/TMC membranes achieve methanol permeance values of up to 16.4 and 15.1 LMH bar−1 coupled with molecular weight cutoffs (MWCOs) as low as 283 and 306 Da, respectively. The DHBIPDA/TPC membrane demonstrates both higher permeance and higher selectivity compared to its relatively disordered counterpart DHBIPDA/TMC, consistent with characterization data. The DHBIPDA-derived membrane efficiently separates dye mixtures with similar molecular weights and enables effective recycling of organometallic homogeneous catalysts, suggesting its potential for industrial applications.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Early online date20 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jun 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • 6,6′-dihydroxy-2,2′-biphenyldiamine monomer
  • interfacial polymerization
  • molecular separation
  • organic solvent nanofiltration
  • selective cross-linking


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