Yuexiao Shen, The Pennsylvania State University
Artificial Water Channels—Bioinspired and Energy-Efficient Filtration Materials
Written by Akshay Phadnis
Starting with the water intake and purification in mangrove trees, the Yuexiao Shen presented the inspiration for making artificial water channels for transport and purification. Membrane-based methods pose challenges in terms of energy, long-term stability, and mass production, for example. As in the mangrove tree roots, the artificial membranes inspired from aquaporins (AQP) have been designed for desalination applications, minimizing energy consumption. These artificial channels, peptide appended pillar arene (PAP) also tackle the issues related to the stability and processing requirements, for example, posed by present membranes. The high-density PAP water channels packed into lipids or polymers offer new systems which are energy efficient, offer high conductance for water and ion separation.