CEMS researchers develop defect-free zeolite nanosheets for highly selective molecular membranes

Researchers from CEMS Professor Andre Mkhoyan's group at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and Professor Michael Tsapatsis' group at Johns Hopkins University have developed a new technique to synthesize and fabricate defect-free MFI zeolite membranes. The work was led by Dr. Donghun Kim (former CEMS post-doctoral researcher) and Supriya Ghosh (fifth-year ChE graduate student).

In a novel synthesis approach, high quality nanosheets were obtained from thin nanosheet fragments instead of using the traditional seeded-nanocrystal growth technique, enabling precise control of the nanosheet thickness. These large aspect nanosheets demonstrated a perfect-crystal orientation of the zeolite pores free of any defects, allowing them to be aligned and packed to form membranes with extremely high performance in xylene isomer separations. The paper is published in Science Advances, a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary scientific journal published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.