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China Develops the World's Thinnest Molecular Sieve Membrane

Recently, a research team led by researcher Wei-Shen Yang and Yan-Shuo Li at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, has successfully prepared a molecular sieve membrane composed of 1 nm thick nanosheets.

Its thickness is only one-thousandth of the thickness of a cicada wing. And it has highly regular pore channels like sieve eyes. The molecular sieve membrane can precisely sieve hydrogen and carbon dioxide molecules with a size difference of only 0.04 nm.

The permeation flux and separation selectivity of this nanosheet molecular sieve membrane far exceed those of all current hydrogen and carbon dioxide separation membranes. The research results were evaluated by foreign experts and scholars as "the development of a new generation of molecular sieve membranes".

The separation of hydrogen and carbon dioxide is a key step in clean energy and carbon dioxide capture. The use of selective membrane materials to achieve the separation of the two at the molecular level has been a long-standing hot spot and difficult research problem worldwide.

Conventional membrane materials are subject to the relationship between permeate flux and separation selectivity. How to improve the permeate flux and separation selectivity of separation membranes at the same time is a challenge to scientists from all over the world.

The key to improve the permeate flux of separation membranes is to effectively reduce the membrane thickness, according to Yang Weishen. The key to improve the selectivity of separation membranes is to construct molecular-scale pore channels within the membrane. Therefore, molecular sieve nanosheets are the most ideal building blocks for high-performance separation membranes.

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