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Precise Sub-Angstrom Ion Separation Using Conjugated Microporous Polymer Membranes

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journal contribution
posted on 29.06.2021, 17:35 by Zongyao Zhou, Dong Guo, Digambar B. Shinde, Li Cao, Zhen Li, Xiang Li, Dongwei Lu, Zhiping Lai
Polymer membranes typically possess a broad pore-size distribution that leads to much lower selectivity in ion separation when compared to membranes made of crystalline porous materials; however, they are highly desirable because of their easy processability and low cost. Herein, we demonstrate the fabrication of ion-sieving membranes based on a polycarbazole-type conjugated microporous polymer using an easy to scale-up electropolymerization strategy. The membranes exhibited high uniform sub-nanometer pores and a precisely tunable membrane thickness, yielding a high ion-sieving performance with a sub-1 Å size precision. Both experimental results and molecular simulations suggested that the impressive ion-sieving performance of the CMP membranes originates from their uniform and narrow pore-size distribution.