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Nanoporous devices constitute emerging platforms for selective molecule separation and sensing, with great potential for high throughput and economy in manufacturing and operation. Acting as mass transfer diodes similar to a solid-state device based on electron conduction, conical pores are shown to have superior performance characteristics compared to traditional cylindrical pores. Such phenomena, however, remain to be exploited for molecular separation. Here we present performance results from silicon membranes created by a new synthesis technique based on interferometric lithography. This method creates millimeter sized planar arrays of uniformly tapered nanopores in silicon with pore diameter 100 nm or smaller, ideally-suited for integration into a multi-scale microfluidic processing system. Molecular transport properties of these devices are compared against state-of-the-art polycarbonate track etched (PCTE) membranes. Mass transfer rates of up to fifteen-fold greater than commercial sieve technology are obtained. Complementary results from molecular dynamics simulations on molecular transport are reported.
We describe a meniscus coating method to produce high-laser damage threshold, silica/alumina sol-gel multilayer reflectors on 30+ cm substrates for laser-fusion applications. This process involves forcing a small suspension flow through a porous applicator tube, forming a falling film on the tube. A substrate contacts this film to form a meniscus. Motion of the substrate relative to the applicator entrains a thin film on the substrate, which leaves behind a porous, optical quality film upon solvent evaporation. We develop a solution for the entrained film thickness as a function of geometry, flow and fluid properties by an analysis similar to that of the classical dip-coating problem. This solution is compared with experimental measurements. Also, preliminary results of multilayer coating experiments with a prototype coater are presented, which focus on coating uniformity and laser damage threshold (LDT).
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