APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
Sorbents, coatings, and selective membranes for
- Gas sensing
- Gas Separations
- Water purification, desalination
- Fuel cells
- Photoelectrochemical synthesis of liquid fuels, ammonia, and other compounds
- Polymers can be tailored to achieve desirable properties for a wide range of applications
- Polymers can be manufactured using solution-phase processing
- Technology enables membranes with higher conductivity, transport selectivity, and chemical stability than current options
Researchers led by Brett Helms of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Molecular Foundry have identified a new class of monomers from which diversity-oriented libraries of intrinsically microporous polymers are prepared with highly desirable characteristics for manufacturing and service life as a membrane, or other component, for applications such as gas separations, fuel cells, batteries, water purification, and many others. Pore dimensions of the polymers range from 0.5 nm to 2 nm, and porosity falls ranges from 5% to 40%.
In addition, the research team identified a new class of electrochemical devices that make use of the microporous polymer membranes to extend cycle life and enhance energy efficiency, relative to both non-selective porous polymer membranes and partially selective polymer membranes currently available.
Until now, the difficulty in generating functional monomers suitable for polymerization and in identifying chemical reactions to effectively interconvert functionality on the polymer after it has been synthesized have limited synthetic strategies to diversify the way functionality is displayed along the polymer backbone. The few reported strategies do not allow the manufacture of functionalized microporous polymers due to poor solubility and processability of the modified polymers. LBNL’s diversity-oriented polymers technology overcomes these limitations.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.
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