Selective Ion Capturing via Carbon Nanotubes Charging
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We present a phenomenon consisting of the synergistic effects of a capacitive material, such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs), and an ion-selective, thin-layer membrane. CNTs can trigger a charge disbalance and propagate this effect into a thin-layer membrane domain under mildly polarization conditions. With the exceptional selectivity and the fast establishment of new concentration profiles provided by the thin-layer membrane, a selective ion capture from the solution is expected, which is necessarily linked to the charge generation on the CNTs lattice. As a proof-of-concept, we investigated an arrangement based on a layer of CNTs modified with a nanometer-sized, potassium-selective membrane to conform an actuator that is in contact with a thin-layer aqueous solution (thickness of 50 μm). The potassium ion content was fixed in the solution (0.1−10 mM range), and the system was operated for 120 s at −400 mV (with respect to the open circuit potential). A 10-fold decrease from th...