Charged Nanochannels in Covalent Organic Framework Membranes Enabling Efficient Ion Exclusion

Xinda You, Li Cao, Yawei Liu, Hong Wu, Runlai Li, Qianxiang Xiao, Jinqiu Yuan, Runnan Zhang, Chunyang Fan, Xiaoyao Wang, Pengfei Yang, Xiaoyu Yang, Yu Ma, Zhongyi Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Controllable ion transport through nanochannels is crucial for biological and artificial membrane systems. Covalent organic frameworks (COFs) with regular and tunable nanochannels are emerging as an ideal material platform to develop synthetic membranes for ion transport. However, ion exclusion by COF membranes remains challenging because most COF materials have large-sized nanochannels leading to nonselective transport of small ions. Here we develop ionic COF membranes (iCOFMs) to control ion transport through charged framework nanochannels, the interior surfaces of which are covered with arrayed sulfonate groups to render superior charge density. The overlap of an electrical double layer in charged nanochannels blocks the entry of co-ions, narrows their passageways, and concomitantly restrains the permeation of counterions via the charge balance. These highly charged large-sized nanochannels within the iCOFM enable ion exclusion while maintaining intrinsically high water permeability. Our results reveal possibilities for controllable ion transport based on COF membranes for water purification, ionic separation, sensing, and energy conversion.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11781-11791
Number of pages11
JournalACS Nano
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 23 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering


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