What is it about?

Since ancient times, nature has been the source of inspiration for human being. Remarkable architectures such as Lotus temple in India and Beijin national stadium in China are examples of nature-inspired engineering. These constructions however, only mimic their natural counterparts in appearance, with less attention to the underlying working mechanisms which can open up new technological breakthroughs. In this review, we study surfaces inspired from lotus leaf and pitcher plant which possess unique properties such as self-cleaning and self-healing. These surfaces are known as superhydrophobic and slippery surfaces respectively. We discuss the properties, design criteria, and working mechanisms. We further elaborate on the application of slippery surfaces in the field of membrane separation technology. The so-called smart gating membranes, which are inspired by gating ion channels in biological systems, their various types, properties, and applications are detailed. Finally, we will discuss challenges and perspectives on both topics.

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Why is it important?

To take advantage of the inspirations provided by nature, we need to know about the underlying working mechanisms. In this review, we provide a thorough discussion and practical applications of nature-inspired functional surfaces and membranes to pave the way for future research and further developments in this emerging field.

Perspectives

Writing this review article was a journey of substantial learning for me. I believe this emerging field will contribute significantly to the future of the separation technology. Inspired by nature, we can develop high performance and advanced membranes with high selectivity and permeability.

Hanieh Bazyar
Technische Universiteit Delft

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This page is a summary of: A review on nature-inspired gating membranes: From concept to design and applications, The Journal of Chemical Physics, October 2022, American Institute of Physics, DOI: 10.1063/5.0105641.
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