The role of nanowrinkles in mass transport across graphene-based membranes

Yuan Kang, Ruosang Qiu, Meipeng Jian, Peiyao Wang, Yun Xia, Benyamin Motevalli, Wang Zhao, Zhiming Tian, Jefferson Zhe Liu, Huanting Wang, Huiyuan Liu, Xiwang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Laminar membranes stacked by 2D materials are an emerging selective unit in separating processes across disciplines for their controllable mass transport properties. In general, parallel nanochannels formed between neighboring layers, owing to their adjustable size and surface chemistry, are considered the dominant transport regulator. Besides these flat interlayer channels, wrinkled morphology has also existed in 2D membranes, but the structure and potential transporting role of such curved channel remain largely unexplored. This study demonstrates that nanowrinkles are intrinsically formed in graphene-based membranes, featuring an arc-like shape with around 2.5 nm high center and two narrow wedge corners. By a facile “solvent-treatment” during assembly, the membranes are tuned to possess different wrinkle density. In transport tests involving water and ions, the appearance of more wrinkles yields higher water permeation yet has limited effect on ion passage. These findings suggest that nanowrinkles by themselves serve as fast transporting ways while their connection with narrow interlayer channels can form a selective network. Results here are expected to deepen the understanding of mass transport mechanisms in current laminar membranes (e.g., graphene-based) and provide strategies for designing future 2D membranes via wrinkle engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2003159
Number of pages7
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2020


  • membranes
  • reduced graphene oxide
  • transport mechanisms
  • wrinkles

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