Ion Selectivity of Water Molecules in Subnanoporous Liquid-Crystalline Water-Treatment Membranes ‒ Structural Study of Hydrogen Bonding


Ryusuke Watanabe, Takeshi Sakamoto, Kosuke Yamazoe, Jun Miyawaki, Takashi Kato, and Yoshihisa Harada


We demonstrate hydrogen-bonded structures of water in self-organized subnanoporous water treatment membranes obtained using synchrotron-based high-resolution soft X-ray emission spectroscopy. The ion selectivity of these water treatment membranes is usually understood by the size compatibility of nanochannels in the membrane with the Stokes radius of hydrated ions, or by electrostatic interaction between charges inside the nanochannels and such ions. However, based on a comparison between the hydrogen‐bonded structures of water molecules in the nanochannels of the water treatment membrane and those surrounding the ions, we propose a definite contribution of structural consistency among the associated hydrogen-bonded water molecules to the ion selectivity. Our observation delivers a novel concept to the design of water treatment membranes where water molecules in the nanochannel can be regarded as a part of the material that controls the ion selectivity.

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