Towards Enhanced Performance Thin-film Composite Membranes via Surface Plasma Modification

Rackel Reis, Ludovic F. Dumée, Blaise L. Tardy, Raymond Dagastine, John D. Orbell, Jürg A. Schutz, Mikel C. Duke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Advancing the design of thin-film composite membrane surfaces is one of the most promising pathways to deal with treating varying water qualities and increase their long-term stability and permeability. Although plasma technologies have been explored for surface modification of bulk micro and ultrafiltration membrane materials, the modification of thin film composite membranes is yet to be systematically investigated. Here, the performance of commercial thin-film composite desalination membranes has been significantly enhanced by rapid and facile, low pressure, argon plasma activation. Pressure driven water desalination tests showed that at low power density, flux was improved by 22% without compromising salt rejection. Various plasma durations and excitation powers have been systematically evaluated to assess the impact of plasma glow reactions on the physico-chemical properties of these materials associated with permeability. With increasing power density, plasma treatment enhanced the hydrophilicity of the surfaces, where water contact angles decreasing by 70% were strongly correlated with increased negative charge and smooth uniform surface morphology. These results highlight a versatile chemical modification technique for post-treatment of commercial membrane products that provides uniform morphology and chemically altered surface properties.

Original languageBritish English
Article number29206
JournalScientific Reports
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'Towards Enhanced Performance Thin-film Composite Membranes via Surface Plasma Modification'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this