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Biomimetic Nanocomposite Membranes with Ultrahigh Ion Selectivity for Osmotic Power Conversion

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journal contribution
posted on 05.08.2021, 15:33 by Jianjun Chen, Weiwen Xin, Weipeng Chen, Xiaolu Zhao, Yongchao Qian, Xiang-Yu Kong, Lei Jiang, Liping Wen
Ion transport in nanoconfinement exhibits significant features such as ionic rectification, ionic selectivity, and ionic gating properties, leading to the potential applications in desalination, water treatment, and energy conversion. Two-dimensional nanofluidics provide platforms to utilize this phenomenon for capturing osmotic energy. However, it is challenging to further improve the power output with inadequate charge density. Here we demonstrate a feasible strategy by employing Kevlar nanofiber as space charge donor and cross-linker to fabricate graphene oxide composite membranes. The coupling of space charge and surface charge, enabled by the stabilization of interlayer spacing, plays a key role in realizing high ion selectivity and the derived high-performance osmotic power conversion up to 5.06 W/m2. Furthermore, the output voltage of an ensemble of the membranes in series could reach 1.61 V, which can power electronic devices. The system contributes a further step toward the application of energy conversion.