June 20, 2024

Researchers at the University of Freiburg were inspired by electrical radiation

Researchers from the Adolf Merkel Institute (AMI) at the University of Freiburg (Unifr) presented the method for producing the ultra-thin film in a study published on Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Scientists used the interface between two liquids that do not mix to form and stabilize these membranes, as Université explained in its statement.

By carefully controlling the conditions under which the two solutions interact with opposite sides of these membranes, the scientists created a polymer layer 35 nanometers thick. Much thinner than a human hair. This can cover surfaces larger than ten square centimeters without gaps.

Different electrical charges

Artificial membranes allow certain electrically charged atoms, called ions, to pass through them and reject others. This allows different charges to be created on both sides of the membrane – the basis for generating electric current. This method is inspired by electric rays, which use similar principles to electrocute their prey.

Potential applications for this membrane range from energy storage and water desalination to medical treatments such as dialysis and implantable energy sources, according to Unifr. In addition to Unifr, researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) were also involved in developing the membrane.

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