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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/X019225/1
Title: Nano manufacturing of ultrathin membranes
Principal Investigator: Boya, Dr R
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 November 2022 Ends: 31 October 2024 Value (£): 202,437
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials testing & eng. Microsystems
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
21 Jun 2022 New Horizons 2021 Full Proposal Panel Announced
23 Jun 2022 New Horizons Electronic and Electical Engineering Panel June 2022 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Going beyond the state-of-the-art, here we propose to make nanomembranes which are ultimately thin, comprising angstrom-scale pores/channels, with minimal defects. Angstrom channels have significance in many natural phenomena such as capillary rise in trees, gas condensation in rock sediments, in ion channels/pumps etc. To mimic the functioning of natural systems, several artificial pores/channels of similar sizes are being engineered synthetically. Such pores can be used in many technologies including filtration, molecular separation, desalination, DNA sequencing to name but a few. The key aim of the project is to develop methods to produce robust porous nanomembranes on a large scale by slicing porous and layered materials.

While there are several excellent porous and layered materials which have angstrom-scale channels, there are several bottlenecks to incorporate them into membranes to utilize their full potential in applications such as filtration, ion sieving, power generation etc. Moreover, when such porous materials are cast into membranes, the pore clogging, fragility, control on the channel length and leaky paths are also major issues. Here we address all these problems by using a simple and robust technique for manufacturing nanomembranes from slicing the pristine materials embedded in a resin matrix. We propose a robust, scalable technique to make ultrathin membranes with nanomaterials, which are useful for molecular separation, osmosis, fuel cells, supercapacitors etc.The research will be carried out in University of Manchester, and National graphene Institute. Training of personnel in precise nano-manufacturing which is acquired though this project, is of immense importance to many areas of academic and industrial by underpinning fundamentals concepts in physics, materials chemistry, and nanofluidics, catering to the continually growing need for well-trained research personnel with appropriate technical knowledge, skills and expertise. This cohesive and innovative approach will develop new tools essential for precise assembly of porous materials in membranes.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk