Mesoporous membranes big in “small”

2019/10/17

A publication on functionalized mesopores by professor Annette Andrieu-Brunsen and co-workers has been featured on the inside cover of the journal "small".

Nanoscale pores and transport processes through them play an important role in many technologies. Examples are drug release, separation processes and water treatment or energy conversion. The behaviour of nanoporous materials, i.e. pores with a diameter of only a few nanometres, is determined by the very limited space within these pores. This spatial limitation affects not only the functionalization but also the transport properties and charge of the materials – and with that the performance of the latter in applications.

The researchers have succeeded for the first time in binding block copolymeric chains at the walls of nanopores. Block copolymeric chains consist of two parts (Cover image: red/blue) of different composition and opposite charge. In addition to the synthesis of polymers in nanopores, their characterization is also a challenge due to the small sample quantity. In order to analyse the transport properties of the tailor-made complex chain architectures (with different charge states) with regard to their accessibility for small molecules, electrochemical measurement techniques were applied. In their article, the scientists show a significant influence of the chain structure and the associated charge composition of single chains on the performance and especially on the accessibility of nanopores.

Brilmayer, R., Hess, C., Andrieu‐Brunsen, A., Influence of Chain Architecture on Nanopore Accessibility in Polyelectrolyte Block‐Co‐Oligomer Functionalized Mesopores. Small 2019, 15, 1902710. https://doi.org/10.1002/smll.201902710

Cover image