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Press Release 09-145
Membrane Breaks Through Performance Barrier

Rapid, low-energy process creates crystalline films free of debilitating defects

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Images of c-oriented silicalite-1 zeolite membrane and membrane undergone rapid thermal processing.

Shown in the image are depictions of (top) a conventionally calcined c-oriented silicalite-1 zeolite membrane and (bottom) an identically oriented membrane that has undergone rapid thermal processing (RTP). Red and green regions in the 3D schematics are indicative of zeolite crystal grains and defects/grain boundaries, respectively. A scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image of the membrane cross-section is shown, as well as representative cross-sectional images collected of dye-saturated membranes via laser scanning confocal microscopy. The schematics and representative data highlight the accessibility and inaccessibility of grain boundaries, respectively, in the conventionally calcined and RTP treated membranes.

Credit: Jungkyu Choi, University of California, Berkeley; Mark A. Snyder, Lehigh University; and Michael Tsapatsis, Univerity of Minnesota


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Photo of Michael Tsapatsis and Jungkyu Choi.

Michael Tsapatsis, professor of chemical engineering and materials science at the University of Minnesota, and graduate student Jungkyu Choi, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, collaborated to create energy-efficient membranes for solvent and biofuel production.

Credit: Michael Tsapatsis and Jungkyu Choi, University of Minnesota


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Photo of Hae-Kwon Jeong, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Texas A&M.

Hae-Kwon Jeong, now an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Texas A&M University, performed some early RTP treatments while a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with engineering professor Richard Masel.

Credit: Hae-Kwon Jeong, Texas A&M University


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Photo of Mark Snyder, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Lehigh University.

Mark Snyder, P.C. Rossin assistant professor of chemical engineering at Lehigh University, performed confocal microscopy experiments while a postdoctoral fellow in Tsapatsis's group to check for defects in the crystalline structure of the membranes.

Credit: Mark A. Snyder, Lehigh University


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Cover of the July 31, 2009, issue of the journal Science.

The researchers' findings appear in the July 31, 2009, issue of the journal Science.

Credit: Copyright 2009 AAAS


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