An official website of the United States government.

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

PFI:AIR - TT: Large Area Fabrication of Next Generation Nanofiltration Membranes With Aligned and Stimuli Responsive Nanopores


This PFI: AIR Technology Translation project focuses on translating recent advances in directed self-assembly of polymers to fill the need for improved performance ultrafiltration (UF) and nanofiltration (NF) membranes. UF and NF membranes are used in a variety of commercial applications. UF is widely employed in food and bioprocessing, for filtration in cheese processing, and pathogen removal from milk, for example. NF membranes are deployed in the removal of organic contaminants for purification of industrially produced wastewaters, for example in textile and paper-making. NF is also employed in point-of-use water purification in households for water softening. Both UF and NF are also employed for the removal of particulate materials in the preparation of high quality water in the microelectronics industry. Improved UF and NF membranes are expected to have positive impacts on the aforementioned applications. <br/><br/>This project is focused specifically on filtration for the microelectronics industry and will result in the development of scalable manufacturing methods, prototype membranes, and the provision of critical membrane performance data for this application. The new self-assembled NF and UF membranes targeted in this project will feature a narrower distribution of pore sizes and reduced tortuosity relative to current state of the art NF membranes. They are expected to provide greater selectivity, and therefore improved separation efficiency in critical applications such as microelectronics filtration, relative to the existing state of the art NF membranes. <br/><br/>This project addresses the scalable fabrication technology gap that must be overcome to translate from research discovery toward commercial application. Two distinct approaches will be pursued. The first is centered on the use of physical confinement to vertically align nanopores in membranes derived by crosslinking self-assembled small molecules. The second is based on the use of magnetic fields, and in particular, low intensity magnetic fields, to vertically align self-assembled polymer nanostructures. These nanostructures are thereafter etched and the resulting pores are used for filtration. In both cases, a critically important aspect is the need to develop processing methods that enable fabrication on appropriate microporous films for mechanical support of the membranes. <br/><br/>The project engages Pall Corporation as an industrial partner to provide application-relevant test data and feedback on commercial opportunities in the overall translation effort. Graduate students involved with this project will receive technology translation and entrepreneurship experiences through collaboration with the industrial partner and participation in career development activities with university technology transfer offices.

Elimelech, Menachem; Osuji, Chinedum
Yale University
Start date
End date
Project number