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Polydimethysiloxane Modified Silica Nanochannel Membrane for Hydrophobicity-Based Molecular Filtration and Detection

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journal contribution
posted on 14.07.2016, 00:00 by Xingyu Lin, Bowen Zhang, Qian Yang, Fei Yan, Xin Hua, Bin Su
We report in this work the fabrication of ultrathin silica nanochannel membranes inhomogeneously modified by polydimethysiloxane (PDMS), designated as PDMS-SNM, for hydrophobicity-based molecular filtration and detection. The modification was accomplished by spatially selective evaporation of hydrophobic PDMS oligomers onto the top surface of the membrane and orifice of silica nanochannels. Thanks to this hydrophobic ultrathin layer and beneath ultrasmall channels (2–3 nm in diameter), only small hydrophobic molecules are able to transport through the PDMS-SNM, whereas hydrophilic and large ones are remarkably inhibited. We first employed this PDMS-SNM as the molecular sieving matrix for selective electrochemical detection of hydrophobic organophosphates (OPs) in milk samples without pretreatment. The PDMS-SNM modified electrode displayed an excellent analytical performance and antifouling/anti-interference ability. We also prepared the free-standing PDMS-SNM consisting of perforated channels, which could filtrate molecules based on their hydrophobicity with an excellent selectivity. As demonstrated, 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene and dopamine could be separated with a selectivity coefficient as high as 335. Moreover, because of the inhomogeneous nanochannel structure and ultrasmall thickness, a remarkably high flux of hydrophobic molecules across the PDMS-SNM was obtained, which was 3–4 orders of magnitude higher than that reported previously.