Pore assembled multilayers of charged polypeptides in microporous membranes for ion separation

Aaron M. Hollman, D. Bhattacharyya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


In this study, highly permeable ion-selective membranes are prepared via immobilization of polyelectrolyte multilayer networks within the inner pore structure of a microporous (pore size = 0.2 μm) support. Electrostatic layer-by-layer assembly is achieved through alternate adsorption of cationic and anionic polyelectrolytes under convective flow conditions. To initiate pore assembly, the first layer consists of covalently bound charged polypeptides (poly(L-glutamic acid) (PLGA) or poly(L-lysine) (PLL)) establishing a charged support for subsequent adsorption. Nonstoichiometric immobilization of charged multilayers within a confined pore geometry leads to an enhanced volume density of ionizable groups in the membrane phase. This overall increase in the effective charge density allows for Donnan exclusion of ionic species (especially divalent co-ions) using microporous materials characterized by permeability values that exceed conventional membrane processes. Multilayer assemblies are fabricated using both PLGA/PLL and synthetic polyelectrolytes (poly(styrenesulfonate)/poly(allylamine)) in an attempt to compare the level of adsorption and separation properties of the resulting materials. The role of salt concentration in the carrier solvent on overall polyelectrolyte adsorption was examined to determine its effect on both solute (Cl -, SO 4 2-, As(V)) and water transport. Constriction of the pore size induced by multilayer propagation was monitored through permeability measurements and dextran rejection studies at each stage of the deposition process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5418-5424
Number of pages7
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jun 22 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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