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Gold goes green at Monash18 October 2012
Associate Professor Wenlong Cheng and his team have created the thinnest possible membrane for use in energy, environment and healthcare applications using ultrathin hydrophobic gold nanowires.
Membranes are vital components in various tasks that are used on a day to day basis. One such task is that of seawater desalination, a crucial process to supply fresh water to the wider community. In this case, the thin membrane will lower the pressure required for filtration, therefore minimising energy costs, making it a much more efficient process.
There have been constant efforts in the research community to fabricate the thinnest possible membranes. Associate Professor Wenlong Cheng and his team have developed a simple, yet efficient, “bottom-up” approach to fabricate giant 2.5-nm-thick metallic nanomembranes. They termed these membranes “giant” nanomembranes, due to their apparent conflicting characteristics - nanoscale thickness and macroscopic lateral dimensions, corresponding to an aspect ratio of above 1 million.
The giant gold nanomembranes reported here is the thinnest version of metallic membranes known to date. Professor Cheng said such novel ultrathin membranes are prime candidates to be used in future green industry by reducing material usage and lowering energy cost.