Novel Forward Osmosis Desalination Technique Involving an Aquaporin Membrane and a Polyethylene-Glycol-Functionalized Iron Oxide Nanoparticle Draw Solute

Open Access
Arnett, Nathan Garner Littlefield
Area of Honors:
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Tak-Sing Wong, Thesis Supervisor
  • Ming Tien, Honors Advisor
  • desalination
Improving access to freshwater is a global challenge. Seawater desalination can solve water shortages, but faces significant obstacles as a method of efficient freshwater generation. Here, we construct a novel forward osmosis (FO) system that utilizes polyethylene glycol coated magnetic nanoparticles (PEG-MNPs) as a draw solute for desalination across an aquaporin membrane. Osmotic pressure produced by the draw solute pulls water across the selectively-permeable aquaporin membrane. A magnet can then be used to remove the draw solute from solution, yielding potable water.