Functional Filtration Membranes Derived from Self-assembled Multiblock Polymers



Membrane separation technologies are used heavily in a number of chemical industries; however, current commercial membranes do not allow for highly selective, high-throughput processing. This invention outlines a method to improve the design of these chemical separations devices in order to create more selective membranes for the high production rate of designer chemical products.

Chemical separations with high selectivity and high permitivity can now be achieved in a wide degree of applications from water purification, to molecular sensing, to drug delivery, through the use of a new class of membranes.

This approach is unique and three-pronged. The first novel aspect of the invention relates to customized filtration membranes comprising: a porous mechanical support; a selective barrier; and membrane pore walls with easily tunable chemical functionalities. Secondly, we have developed a new polymer synthetic protocol, membrane fabrication procedure, and pore functionality modification technique that occurs after the physical structure of the membrane has been formed fully, easing fabrication constraints and increasing a membrane's range of use. A final aspect of the invention relates to the uses of the membranes in ultrafiltration, diafiltration, membrane reactors, and membrane chromatography applications.



The structure allows the membrane to act as a highly selective, high-throughput separation device for solutes that vary in size, such as biopharmaceuticals, nanoparticles, and environmental contaminants. The ability to tailor the membrane surface and pore chemistry will prove advantageous in these applications because the blockage of pores, the absorption of foreign material to the membrane surface, and diminished performance can be averted.

The ability to tune pore chemistry and membrane surface chemistry also opens the potential for the design of membranes that selectively bind specific solutes from solution. This opens up the possibility of membrane chromatography and flow through separative reactors.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Richard Cox
Director, Licensing & Business Development
University of Notre Dame
(574) 631-5158
William Phillip
Bryan Boudouris
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