Development of membrane systems based on conducting polymers
We have developed a new generation of intelligent membrane systems using conducting polymers, utilising their unique electroactive properties. The chemical and physical properties of the film may be manipulated in-situ by application of electrical stimuli. This in turn allows modulation of the transport properties (even switching the transport off/on) and selectivity of the membrane. In addition, the versatility of synthesis of conducting polymers allows a wide range of chemistries and hence selectivities to be obtained to target particular applications, such as mineral recovery, protein separation, and salt rejection. Membranes can be fabricated as free standing films, composites, layer structures, or as thin films on conventional substrates. This paper reviews the development of these systems and highlights recent work on membranes with thin selective layers of conducting polymer.