U of M researchers developed “carpets” of flaky crystal-type nanosheets that can be used to separate molecules as a sieve or as a membrane barrier in both research and industrial applications to save money and energy.
One promising option for more energy-efficient separations is high-resolution molecular separation with membranes. They are based on preferential adsorption and/or sieving of molecules with minute size and shape differences. Among the candidates for selective separation membranes, zeolite materials (crystals with molecular-sized pores) show particular promise.
While zeolites have been used as adsorbents and catalysts for several decades, there have been substantial challenges in processing zeolitic materials into extended sheets that remain intact. To enable energy-savings technology, scientists needed to develop cost-effective, reliable and scalable deposition methods for thin film zeolite formation.
“We think this discovery holds great promise in commercial applications,” said Kumar Varoon, a