Improved antifouling properties of polymer membranes using a ‘layer-by-layer’ mediated method

Lin Chen, Héloïse Thérien-Aubin, Mavis C. Y. Wong, Eric M. V. Hoek, Christopher K. Ober

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Polymeric reverse osmosis membranes were modified with antifouling polymer brushes through a 'layer by layer' (LBL) mediated method. Based on pure physical electrostatic interaction, the attachment of LBL films did not alter separation performance of the membranes. In addition, the incorporation of an LBL film also helped to amplify the number of potential reaction sites on the membrane surfaces for attachment of antifouling polymer brushes, which were then attached to the surface. Attachment of the brushes included two different approaches, grafting to and grafting from. Attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and water contact angle measurements showed successful growth of the LBL films and subsequently the polymer brushes. Using this method to modify reverse osmosis membranes, preliminary performance testing showed the antifouling properties of the as-modified membranes were much better than the virgin membrane with no significant loss in water flux and salt rejection. © 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5651
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry B
Issue number41
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-C1-018-02
Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful to the Cornell-KAUST research center for financial support (Award no. KUS-C1-018-02) and to both the Nanobiotechnology Center (NBTC) and Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR), which are supported by NSF, for use of their facilities.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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