The decoration of porous membranes with a dense layer of nanoparticles imparts useful functionality and can enhance membrane separation and anti-fouling properties. However, manufacturing of nanoparticle-coated membranes requires multiple steps and tedious processing. Here, we introduce a facile single-step method in which bicontinuous interfacially jammed emulsions are used to form nanoparticle-functionalized hollow fiber membranes. The resulting nanocomposite membranes prepared via solvent transfer-induced phase separation and photopolymerization have exceptionally high nanoparticle loadings (up to 50 wt% silica nanoparticles) and feature densely packed nanoparticles uniformly distributed over the entire membrane surfaces. These structurally well-defined, asymmetric membranes facilitate control over membrane flux and selectivity, enable the formation of stimuli responsive hydrogel nanocomposite membranes, and can be easily modified to introduce antifouling features. This approach forms a foundation for the formation of advanced nanocomposite membranes comprising diverse building blocks with potential applications in water treatment, industrial separations and as catalytic membrane reactors.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work is primarily supported by CBET-1449337 and partially by ACS PRF no. 55260-ND10. M.F.H. is partially supported by the German Research foundation (DFG) under the project number HA 7488/1-1. We thank Professor H. Koo (Penn) for providing green-fluorescent Streptococcus mutants for the biofouling study.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)