Charged Layered Boron Nitride-Nanoflake Membranes for Efficient Ion Separation and Water Purification

Aaditya Pendse, Semih Cetindag, Meng Hsuan Lin, Angelina Rackovic, Rousan Debbarma, Soroush Almassi, Brian P. Chaplin, Vikas Berry, Jerry W. Shan, Sangil Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


2D layered nanomaterials have attracted considerable attention for their potential for highly efficient separations, among other applications. Here, a 2D lamellar membrane synthesized using hexagonal boron nitride nanoflakes (h-BNF) for highly efficient ion separation is reported. The ion-rejection performance and the water permeance of the membrane as a function of the ionic radius, ion valance, and solution pH are investigated. The nonfunctionalized h-BNF membranes show excellent ion rejection for small sized salt ions as well as for anionic dyes (>97%) while maintaining a high water permeability, ≈1.0 × 10−3 L m m−2 h−1 bar−1). Experiments show that the ion-rejection performance of the membrane can be tuned by changing the solution pH. The results also suggest that the rejection is influenced by the ionic size and the electrostatic repulsion between fixed negative charges on the BN surface and the mobile ions, and is consistent with the Donnan equilibrium model. These simple-to-fabricate h-BNF membranes show a unique combination of excellent ion selectivity and high permeability compared to other 2D membranes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1904590
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)


  • 2D nanosheets
  • boron nitride
  • ion selectivity
  • layered materials
  • nanostructured membranes

Cite this

Pendse, A., Cetindag, S., Lin, M. H., Rackovic, A., Debbarma, R., Almassi, S., ... Kim, S. (2019). Charged Layered Boron Nitride-Nanoflake Membranes for Efficient Ion Separation and Water Purification. Small, 15(49), [1904590].