Hierarchical multiscale hyperporous block copolymer membranes via tunable dual-phase separation

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Science Advances  24 Jul 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 6, e1500101
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500101


The rational design and realization of revolutionary porous structures have been long-standing challenges in membrane science. We demonstrate a new class of amphiphilic polystyrene-block-poly(4-vinylpyridine) block copolymer (BCP)–based porous membranes featuring hierarchical multiscale hyperporous structures. The introduction of surface energy–modifying agents and the control of major phase separation parameters (such as nonsolvent polarity and solvent drying time) enable tunable dual-phase separation of BCPs, eventually leading to macro/nanoscale porous structures and chemical functionalities far beyond those accessible with conventional approaches. Application of this BCP membrane to a lithium-ion battery separator affords exceptional improvement in electrochemical performance. The dual-phase separation–driven macro/nanopore construction strategy, owing to its simplicity and tunability, is expected to be readily applicable to a rich variety of membrane fields including molecular separation, water purification, and energy-related devices.

  • Amphiphilic block copolymer
  • Porous membrane
  • Hierarchical multiscale hyperporous structure
  • Dual-phase separation
  • Rechargeable batteries

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