In Situ Spectroscopic Ellipsometry in the Field of Industrial Membranes

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Springer Series in Surface Sciences, ISSN: 0931-5195, Vol: 52, Page: 173-195

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Wojciech Ogieglo
Springer International Publishing
Materials Science; In-situ ellipsometry; Industrial membranes; Ultra-thin polymer films; Nanoconfinement effects
book chapter description
Industrial membranes are playing an ever increasing role in the ongoing and necessary transition of our society towards more sustainable growth and development. Already today membranes offer more energy efficient alternatives to the traditional often very energy intensive industrial separation processes such as (cryogenic) distillation or crystallization. For many years reverse osmosis membranes have offered a viable method for the production of potable water via desalination processes and their significance continuously increases. Recently, membrane technology has been demonstrated to play a significant role in potential methods to generate or store energy on an industrial scale. For molecular separations often the key for an efficient membrane operation often lies in the application of an (ultra-) thin organic polymer, inorganic or hybrid selective layer whose interaction with the separated mixture defines the membrane performance. Ellipsometry has started gaining increasing attention in this area due to its large potential to conduct in-situ, non-destructive and very precise analysis of the film-fluid interactions. In this chapter, we aim to review the important recent developments in the application of ellipsometry in industrial membrane-related studies. We briefly introduce the basics of membrane science and discuss the used experimental setups and optical models. Further we focus on fundamental studies of sorption, transport and penetrant-induced phenomena in thin films exposed to organic solvents or high pressure gases. The application of in-situ ellipsometry is discussed for studies of new, promising membrane materials and the use of the technique for emerging direct studies of operating membranes is highlighted.