Tailoring interlayer structure of molecular layer-by-layer assembled polyamide membranes for high separation performance

Joung Eun Gu, Jong Suk Lee, Sang Hee Park, Il Tae Kim, Edwin P. Chan, Young Nam Kwon, Jung Hyun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


A molecular layer-by-layer (mLbL) technique was recently developed to fabricate polyamide (PA) thin film composite (TFC) membranes for water purification. In this study, the interlayer structure between the selective and support layers of the mLbL-assembled TFC membrane was tailored to achieve high performance applicable to seawater desalination. Introducing interlayers on porous supports prior to mLbL deposition allowed the effective PA growth by preventing monomer deposition within the support pores. The PA layers were grown via mLbL on supports coated by a series of interlayers: poly(piperazine-amide), cross-linked poly(ethyleneimine) (PEI) and a polyelectrolyte bilayer of PEI and poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) (PEI/PAA). The density and distribution of surface carboxyl groups of the interlayer were found to be key parameters that determine the structure and performance of the mLbL-assembled membranes. Among the interlayers examined, the PEI/PAA interlayer not only yielded membranes with superior performance but also with a highly smooth surface beneficial for antifouling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-667
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Surface Science
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Nov 30

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (NRF-2014R1A1A1003197) and the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT) institutional program (Project # KK 1502-C00). Official contribution of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • Molecular layer-by-layer assembly
  • Multilayered coatings
  • Polyamide
  • Reverse osmosis desalination
  • Thin film composite membranes
  • Water purification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Surfaces and Interfaces


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