Artificial channels for confined mass transport at the sub-nanometre scale

Jie Shen, Gongping Liu, Yu Han, Wanqin Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


Mass transport at the sub-nanometre scale, including selective transport of gases, liquids and ions, plays a key role in systems such as catalysis, energy generation and storage, chemical sensing and molecular separation. Highly efficient biological channels in living organisms have inspired the design of artificial channels with similar, or even higher, mass-transport efficiency, which can be used at a much larger scale. In this Review, we highlight synthetic-nanomaterials-enabled channels in the platforms of well-defined nanopores, 1D nanotubes and 2D nanochannels, and discuss their design principles, channel architectures and membrane or device fabrication. We focus on fundamental mechanisms of sub-nanometre confined mass transport and their relationships with the structure–property–performance. We then present the practicalities of these channels and discuss their potential impact on the development of next-generation sustainable technologies for use in applications related to energy, the environment and healthcare.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Reviews Materials
StatePublished - Jan 21 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-02-02
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): FCC/1/1972-19
Acknowledgements: The authors acknowledge support received from National Natural Science Foundation of China (91934303, 22038006, 21921006, 21490585), the Innovative Research Team Program by the Ministry of Education of China (IRT_17R54) and the Top-notch Academic Programs Project of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (TAPP). J.S. and Y.H. acknowledge the CCF grant (FCC/1/1972-19) to Y.H. from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).


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