Visualisation of an ultrafiltration membrane by non-contact atomic force microscopy at single pore resolution

W. Richard Bowen, Nidal Hilal, Robert W. Lovitt, Peter M. Williams

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Non-contact atomic force microscopy (AFM) has been used to investigate the surface pore structure of a polyethersulfone ultrafiltration membrane of specified molecular weight cut off (MWCO) 25 000 (ES625, PCI Membrane Systems). Excellent images at up to single pore resolution were obtained. This is the first time that AFM images of a membrane at such high resolution have been presented. Analysis of the images gave a mean pore size of 5.1 nm with a standard deviation of 1.1 nm. The results have been compared to previously published studies of membranes of comparable MWCO using contact AFM and electron microscopy. Non-contact AFM is a powerful means of studying the surface pore characteristics of ultrafiltration membranes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-232
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 1996
Externally publishedYes



  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Pore size distribution
  • Ultrafiltration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Filtration and Separation
  • Polymers and Plastics

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