Smart gating membranes with in situ self-assembled responsive nanogels as functional gates

Feng Luo; Rui Xie; Zhuang Liu; Xiao-Jie Ju; Wei Wang; Shuo Lin; Liang-Yin Chu
October 2015
Scientific Reports;10/9/2015, p1
Academic Journal
Smart gating membranes, inspired by the gating function of ion channels across cell membranes, are artificial membranes composed of non-responsive porous membrane substrates and responsive gates in the membrane pores that are able to dramatically regulate the trans-membrane transport of substances in response to environmental stimuli. Easy fabrication, high flux, significant response and strong mechanical strength are critical for the versatility of such smart gating membranes. Here we show a novel and simple strategy for one-step fabrication of smart gating membranes with three-dimensionally interconnected networks of functional gates, by self-assembling responsive nanogels on membrane pore surfaces in situ during a vapor-induced phase separation process for membrane formation. The smart gating membranes with in situ self-assembled responsive nanogels as functional gates show large flux, significant response and excellent mechanical property simultaneously. Because of the easy fabrication method as well as the concurrent enhancement of flux, response and mechanical property, the proposed smart gating membranes will expand the scope of membrane applications, and provide ever better performances in their applications.


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