Tuning transport in graphene oxide membrane with single-site copper (II) cations

Mingzhan Wang, Xiang He, Eli Hoenig, Gangbin Yan, Guiming Peng, Fengyuan Shi, Julia Radhakrishnan, Grant Hill, David M. Tiede, Hua Zhou, Chong Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Controlling the ion transport through graphene oxide (GO) membrane is challenging, particularly in the aqueous environment due to its strong swelling tendency. Fine-tuning the interlayer spacing and chemistry is critical to create highly selective membranes. We investigate the effect of single-site divalent cations in tuning GO membrane properties. Competitive ionic permeation test indicates that Cu2+ cations dominate the transport through the 2D channels of GO membrane over other cations (Mg2+/Ca2+/Co2+). Without/With the single-site M2+ modifications, pristine GO, Mg-GO, Ca-GO, and Cu-GO membranes show interlayer spacings of ∼13.6, 15.6, 14.5, and 12.3 Å in wet state, respectively. The Cu-GO membrane shows a two-fold decrease of NaCl (1 M) permeation rate comparing to pristine GO, Mg-GO, and Ca-GO membranes. In reverse osmosis tests using 1000 ppm NaCl and Na2SO4 as feeds, Cu-GO membrane shows rejection of ∼78% and ∼94%, respectively, which are 5%–10% higher than its counterpart membranes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104044
Issue number4
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemical engineering
  • Membranes
  • Separation science


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