Surface pattern by nanoimprint for membrane fouling mitigation: Design, performance and mechanisms

Ming Xie, Wenhai Luo, Stephen R. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (SciVal)


Imparting water treatment membrane with surface pattern by nanoimprint offered a novel approach to fouling resistance. We employed nanoimprint to fabricate line-shape nanostructure on membrane distillation (MD) membrane surface. Patterned MD membrane exhibited strong antifouling property to Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA) protein during MD separation. Water flux decline and protein deposition were substantially minimized on the patterned MD membrane in comparison with the pristine one. Such lower fouling propensity on the patterned MD membrane was mainly driven by the weak hydrophobic interaction between BSA protein and patterned MD membrane surface. Weaker adhesion force mapping of the patterned MD membrane was quantified. Representative force-distance curve of pristine MD membrane showed a strong attractive depletion force comparing with that of patterned one. The simple, chemical-free, and scalable nanofabrication approach enables varying designs on membrane surface for special membrane properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-243
Number of pages6
JournalWater Research
Early online date24 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Adhesion force measurement
  • Foulant-membrane interaction
  • Membrane filtration
  • Nanoimprint
  • Protein fouling
  • Surface pattern

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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