Development of technologies for water desalination and purification is critical to meet the global challenges of insufficient water supply and inadequate sanitation, especially for point-of-use applications. Conventional desalination methods are energy and operationally intensive, whereas adsorption-based techniques are simple and easy to use for point-of-use water purification, yet their capacity to remove salts is limited. Here we report that plasma-modified ultralong carbon nanotubes exhibit ultrahigh specific adsorption capacity for salt (exceeding 400% by weight) that is two orders of magnitude higher than that found in the current state-of-the-art activated carbon-based water treatment systems. We exploit this adsorption capacity in ultralong carbon nanotube-based membranes that can remove salt, as well as organic and metal contaminants. These ultralong carbon nanotube-based membranes may lead to next-generation rechargeable, point-of-use potable water purification appliances with superior desalination, disinfection and filtration properties.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)