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Realization of water permeation kinetics in two-dimensional nanocapillaries to develop desalination and energy harvesting membranes

Project description

Smartened 2D materials for water desalination

Energy harvesting or access to clean drinking water through water desalination requires solutions in the form of 2D materials for important industry applications. Just like graphene, these materials contain tiny capillaries and cavities that are ideal for desalination technology. The aim of the EU-funded project GraFludicDevices is to improve fundamental understanding of molecular transport in nanochannels made of different 2D materials. Researchers will develop 2D nanochannel devices to investigate water flow dynamics – permeation kinetics and selective separation of water molecules from ions – using custom-made flow measurement techniques. Results will shed further insight into the potential for 2D materials’ cost-effective application in water desalination and related technologies.


Exploration of molecular transport in nanometre (nm) and sub-nm capillaries has big implications in the emergence of novel nanofluidic phenomena with interesting applications, including desalination, water purification, energy harvesting and smart membrane technologies. Recent advances in graphene and other two-dimensional (2D) materials based membranes with interlayer gallery of nanochannels have witnessed high water-ion selectivity and fast water permeation—manifesting their potential for desalination and smart membrane applications. However, a systematic and extensive experimental investigation of water permeation kinetics, including the demonstration of slip effects, in these atomically smooth 2D nanochannels is still lacking. Therefore, the main objective of the current research proposal is to gain a complete mechanistic understanding of water transport in nanochannels made of different 2D materials, which is crucial for the rational design of functional membranes for energy and environmental applications. This will be achieved by employing the state-of-the-art fabrication and experimental techniques based on van der Waals assembly, Landau-Squire flow measurement set-up and ultrasonic force microscopy. In this project, atomically smooth angstrom-scale 2D nanochannel devices will be prepared to investigate the flow dynamics of water using a custom-made ultrasensitive flow measurement technique. Throughout the project, advanced modelling techniques will be utilized to fundamentally understand transport and further optimize the system. Building on these findings, a scale-up methodology will be developed for the large-scale production of membranes for desalination and energy harvesting applications. The proposed research action will address Horizon 2020 Societal Challenges related to water security and resource efficiency while advancing the field of nanofluidics and membrane technology through the development of new fabrication and flow measurement methods.


Net EU contribution
€ 196 707,84
75794 Paris

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Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 196 707,84