Graphene-based membranes demonstrating ultrafast water transport, precise molecular sieving of gas and solvated molecules shows great promise as novel separation platforms; however, scale-up of these membranes to large-areas remains an unresolved problem. Here we demonstrate that the discotic nematic phase of graphene oxide (GO) can be shear aligned to form highly ordered, continuous, thin films of multi-layered GO on a support membrane by an industrially adaptable method to produce large-area membranes (13 × 14 cm2) in < 5 s. Pressure driven transport data demonstrate high retention (> 90%) for charged and uncharged organic probe molecules with a hydrated radius above 5 Å as well as modest (30–40%) retention of monovalent and divalent salts. The highly ordered graphene sheets in the plane of the membrane make organized channels and enhance the permeability (71±5 l m−2 hr−1 bar−1 for 150±15 nm thick membranes).

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in Nature Communications, v. 7, article no. 10891, p. 1-12.

© The Author(s) 2017

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We acknowledge funding from the Australian Research Council through an ARC Discovery (DP 110100082), ARC Linkage (LP 140100959) grant and also partial support from University of Kentucky NSF EPSCoR grant.

ncomms10891-s1.pdf (718 kB)
Supplementary Information: Supplementary Figures 1-7, Supplementary Tables 1-4, Supplementary Notes 1-2 and Supplementary References.

ncomms10891-s2.mov (4811 kB)
Supplementary Movie 1: Large-scale production of graphene based membrane