Aquaporin-like water transport in nanoporous crystalline layered carbon nitride

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Science Advances  25 Sep 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 39, eabb6011
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb6011


Designing next-generation fuel cell and filtration devices requires the development of nanoporous materials that allow rapid and reversible uptake and directed transport of water molecules. Here, we combine neutron spectroscopy and first-principles calculations to demonstrate rapid transport of molecular H2O through nanometer-sized voids ordered within the layers of crystalline carbon nitride with a polytriazine imide structure. The transport mechanism involves a sequence of molecular orientation reversals directed by hydrogen-bonding interactions as the neutral molecules traverse the interlayer gap and pass through the intralayer voids that show similarities with the transport of water through transmembrane aquaporin channels in biological systems. The results suggest that nanoporous layered carbon nitrides can be useful for developing high-performance membranes.

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