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We demonstrate that ionic current rectification effects are observed with a film of negatively charged carbon nanofibers (CNFs) deposited as a film or mat onto a 10 μm diameter microhole in poly-ethylene-terephthalate (PET). CNFs are synthesized by using a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method, followed by oxidation with hydrogen peroxide to introduce carboxyl moieties (providing negative surface charges). CNFs are characterized with transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, elemental analysis, and zeta potential measurements. When drop-dried asymmetrically onto a 10 μm diameter cylindrical channel on a 6 μm thick PET substrate and placed as a membrane between two electrolyte compartments, ionic current rectification is observed. Effects of pH, ionic strength, and nature of electrolyte are investigated. Bipolar reactivity of iodide is demonstrated. Potential for future applications in water purification are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3145-3153
Number of pages9
Issue number12
Early online date30 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2019


  • carbon nanofibers
  • desalination
  • ionic rectifiers
  • membranes
  • voltammetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Electrochemistry

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