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Novel Nanostructured Membrane Separators and Uses thereof


Background:The rapid online detection of heavy metals has emerged as a pressing issue for developed and underdeveloped communities for various applications ranging from environmental control and water quality to monitoring of fish and plant borne poisoning. Conventional methods to detect heavy metal concentrations usually require sampling and transportation to central labs. Such methods are time consuming typically requiring more than 24 h. In addition the lack of selectivity of sensors in the presence of other types of contaminants in complex solutions is a common problem that directly affects conventional sensor’s sensitivity and the functionality.Technology Description:In this invention we report on a novel technique for rapid and ultrahigh sensitive separation preconcentration and electrochemical detection of heavy metal ions in aqueous media based on simultaneous capillary-driven flow ion entrapment and impedance detection and can be easily integrated on a microfluidic platform. The device is based on a unique nanostructure consisting of nanoporous anodic alumina membrane functionalized with highly ordered hexagonal arrays of metal nanoparticles (i.e. Au or Pt) with 25 nm sub-gaps on the top surface and ultrathin porous metal nanoshells on the interior walls of the pores with < 15 nm sub-gaps. Ions separation and preconcentration are achieved by inducing microfluidic flow inside the nanopores controlled by the contact angles mistmatch on the top and pore surfaces relative to the electrolyte.Applications:1) water monitoring2) waste management3) water Purification4) fluids monitoring functions for manufacturingOpportunity for collaboration:Industrial Partners willing to collaborate for further research and development of this technology


1) Real time detection of heavy metal ions in water2) Comparatively cheap3) Provides rich actionable data that can be stored and analyzed

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