Engineered Multifunctional Particles for Mixed Matrix Membranes

The intrinsic trade-off between permeability and selectivity constrains the performance of gas separation membranes to below an upper limit, as depicted by the Robeson diagram. Incorporation of porous inorganic particles in polymers to fabricate mixed matrix membranes (MMMs) is a viable way to overcome this limitation. Since inorganic materials position in the upper-right corner of the Robeson diagram, MMMs are expected to exhibit enhanced separation performance relative to neat polymers. However, compatibility issues between polymers and inorganic fillers limit the ability to control MMMs morphology and selectivity. Facilitated transport is, in principle, an efficient strategy to enhance membrane selectivity, even though facilitated transport carriers suffer from photo-chemical instability. This project explores a fundamentally novel class of Janus MMMs in order to design highly permeable, highly selective, and defect-free materials with enhanced membrane transport properties; i.e., both permeability and selectivity (in collaboration with Prof. Michele Galizia).