Highly Efficient Virus Rejection with Self-Organized Membranes Based on a Crosslinked Bicontinuous Cubic Liquid Crystal

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Abstract

To remove viruses from water, the use of self-assembling liquid crystals is presented as a novel method for the synthesis of membranes with a regular pore size (below 1 nm) and controlled pore structures. Nanostructured bicontinuous cubic liquid-crystalline (LC) thin films are photopolymerized onto a polysulfone support layer. It is found that these membranes reject the virus, Qβ bacteriophage (≈20 nm diameter) by >99.9999%. Prepressurization of the membrane appears to enhance their virus rejection properties. This is the first example of nanostructured LC membranes that are used for virus rejection, for which they show great potential.

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