Rapid Size-Based Protein Discrimination inside Hybrid Isoporous Membranes
R. Shevate, M. Kumar, H. Cheng, P.-Y. Hong, A.R. Behzad, D. Anjum, K.-V. Peinemann
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, (2019)
Block copolymer, Fouling suppression, Functionalized graphene oxide nanosheets, Hybrid isoporous membrane, Hydrophilicity, PH responsive, Self-assembly, Size-selective protein separation
Owing to their unique morphology, isoporous membranes derived from block copolymers (BCPs) have rapidly advanced the process of macromolecular separation. In such separations, fouling is the most daunting challenge, affecting both the permeability and selectivity of high-performance isoporous membranes. To overcome this, we increase the hydrophilicity of nanostructured BCP isoporous membranes by incorporating hydrophilic polymer-grafted graphene oxide nanosheets into them. Due to the synergy of these two highly functional components, the hybrid isoporous membranes show pH-responsive and alcohol-gating behaviors, along with improved bactericidal capabilities. Leveraging the high permeability and selectivity behavior of BCP isoporous membranes together with the antifouling capabilities imparted by the polymer-grafted graphene oxide nanosheets, we achieved the highest separation factor (33) ever obtained during the ultrafiltration of the common blood proteins bovine serum albumin and immunoglobulin. This was accompanied by a 60% enhanced flux compared to that of the pristine BCP membranes during this challenging size-based separation of a protein mixture. We surmise that such fouling-resistant hybrid isoporous membranes with rationally functionalized filler materials can be used to replace existing membranes for specific energy-efficient bioseparation applications with improved performance.
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