Silicon nanoporous membranes as a rigorous platform for validation of biomolecular transport models
Abstract Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), a technology that resulted from significant innovation in semiconductor fabrication, have recently been applied to the development of silicon nanopore membranes (SNM). In contrast to membranes fabricated from polymeric materials, SNM exhibit slit-shaped pores, monodisperse pore size, constant surface porosity, zero pore overlap, and sub-micron thickness. This development in membrane fabrication is applied herein for the validation of the XDLVO (extended Derjaguin, Landau, Verwey, and Overbeek) theory of membrane transport within the context of hemofiltration. In this work, the XDLVO model has been derived for the unique slit pore structure of SNM. Beta-2-microglobulin (B2M), a clinically relevant “middle molecular weight” solute in kidney disease, is highlighted in this study as the solute of interest. In order to determine interaction parameters within the XDLVO model for B2M and SNM, goniometric measurements were conducted, yielding a Hamaker constant of 4.61×10 –21 J and an acid-base Gibbs free energy at contact of 41 mJ/m 2 . The XDLVO model was combined with existing models for membrane sieving, with predictions of the refined model in good agreement with experimental data. Furthermore, the results show a significant difference between the XDLVO model and the simpler steric predictions typically applied in membrane transport. The refined model can be used as a tool to tailor membrane chemistry and maximize sieving or rejection of different biomolecules.