skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Lang, Chao"

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. One of the most efficient and promising separation alternatives to thermal methods such as distillation is the use of polymeric membranes that separate mixtures based on molecular size or chemical affinity. Self-assembled block copolymer membranes have gained considerable attention within the membrane field due to precise control over nanoscale structure, pore size, and chemical versatility. Despite the rapid progress and excitement, a significant hurdle in using block copolymer membranes for nanometer and sub-nanometer separations such as nanofiltration and reverse osmosis is the lower limit on domain size features. Strategies such as polymer post-functionalization, self-assembly of oligomers, liquid crystals, and random copolymers, or incorporation of artificial/natural channels within block copolymer materials are future directions with the potential to overcome current limitations with respect to separation size. 
    more » « less
  2. Aquaporins (AQPs) are naturally occurring water channel proteins. They can facilitate water molecule translocation across cellular membranes with exceptional selectivity and high permeability that are unmatched in synthetic membrane systems. These unique properties of AQPs have led to their use as functional elements in membranes in recent years. However, the intricate nature of AQPs and concerns regarding their stability and processability have encouraged researchers to develop synthetic channels that mimic the structure and properties of AQPs and other biological water-conducting channels. These channels have been termed artificial water channels. This article reviews current progress and provides a historical perspective as well as an outlook toward developing scalable membranes based on artificial water channels. 
    more » « less
  3. Artificial water channels are a practical alternative to biological water channels for achieving exceptional water permeability and selectivity in a stable and scalable architecture. However, channel-based membrane fabrication faces critical barriers such as: (1) increasing pore density to achieve measurable gains in permeability while maintaining selectivity, and (2) scale-up to practical membrane sizes for applications. Recently, we proposed a technique to prepare channel-based membranes using peptide-appended pillar[5]arene (PAP[5]) artificial water channels, addressing the above challenges. These multi-layered PAP[5] membranes (ML-PAP[5]) showed significantly improved water permeability compared to commercial membranes with similar molecular weight cut-offs. However, due to the distinctive pore structure of water channels and the layer-by-layer architecture of the membrane, the separation behavior is unique and was still not fully understood. In this paper, two unique selectivity trends of ML-PAP[5] membranes are discussed from the perspectives of channel geometry, ion exclusion, and linear molecule transport. 
    more » « less
  4. The long-standing goal in membrane development is creating materials with superior transport properties, including both high flux and high selectivity. These properties are common in biological membranes, and thus mimicking nature is a promising strategy towards improved membrane design. In previous studies, we have shown that artificial water channels can have excellent water transport abilities that are comparable to biological water channel proteins, aquaporins. In this study, we propose a strategy for incorporation of artificial channels that mimic biological channels into stable polymeric membranes. Specifically, we synthesized an amphiphilic triblock copolymer, poly(isoprene)– block –poly(ethylene oxide)– block –poly(isoprene), which is a high molecular weight synthetic analog of naturally occurring lipids in terms of its self-assembled structure. This polymer was used to build stacked membranes composed of self-assembled lamellae. The resulting membranes resemble layers of natural lipid bilayers in living systems, but with superior mechanical properties suitable for real-world applications. The procedures used to synthesize the triblock copolymer resulted in membranes with increased stability due to the crosslinkability of the hydrophobic domains. Furthermore, the introduction of bridging hydrophilic domains leads to the preservation of the stacked membrane structure when the membrane is in contact with water, something that is challenging for diblock lamellae that tend to swell, and delaminate in aqueous solutions. This new method of membrane fabrication offers a practical model for making channel-based biomimetic membranes, which may lead to technological applications in reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, and ultrafiltration membranes. 
    more » « less