Bioinspired heterogeneous ion pump membranes: unidirectional selective pumping and controllable gating properties stemming from asymmetric ionic group distribution

Zhen Zhang, Pei Li, Xiang Yu Kong, Ganhua Xie, Yongchao Qian, Ziqi Wang, Ye Tian, Liping Wen, Lei Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


The creation of an artificial solid-state ion pump that mimics the delicate ion transport behaviors of a biological protein-based ion pump is drawing more and more research attention due to its potential applications in energy conversion, biosensor, and desalination. However, the reported bioinspired double-gated ion pump systems are generally very primary and can only realize nonselective ion pumping functions with no directionality and uncontrollable ion gating functions, which are far from their biological counterparts. To make the bioinspired device "smart" in a real sense, the implementation of high-level selectivity and directionality in the ion pumping process, while achieving great controllability in the ion gating process, is a necessity. Here, we developed a bioinspired heterogeneous ion pump membrane by combining block copolymer membrane sacrificial coating and plasma grafting technique. The system has unidirectional selective ion pumping and controllable ion gating properties. The introduction of asymmetric ionic group distribution is the key reason for its novel transport behaviors. Such a heterogeneous ion pump could not only provide a basic platform that potentially sparks further efforts to simulate the smart ion transport processes in living bodies but also promote the application of artificial nanofluidic devices in energy conversion, water treatment, and biosensing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1083-1090
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

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