Office for Technology Commercialization

Direct Synthesis of High Aspect Ratio Zeolite Nanosheets

Technology #20170075

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MFI nanosheetMFI MembraneZeolite Membrane
Michael Tsapatsis, PhD
Professor, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
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Andre Mkhoyan
Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
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J. Ilja Siepmann, PhD
Professor, Department of Chemistry
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Larry Micek
Technology Licensing Officer 612-624-9568
Patent Protection

Provisional Patent Application Filed
Ultra-selective high-flux membranes from directly synthesized zeolite nanosheets
Nature, 543, 690–694 (30 March 2017)
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Non-confidential Summary [PDF]

Zeolite Nanosheets with Nanometer Thicknesses

A newly developed direct synthesis method creates zeolite nanosheets with nanometer thicknesses and a high aspect ratio. The process creates zeolite nanosheets with enhanced mass transport properties within their nanopores, favorable to applications such as catalysis and separation. The nanosheets feature many desirable characteristics: predominant thickness of 5nm (2.5 unit cells), 0.6 nm straight pores down their thin dimension, and basal dimensions of several micrometers. For example, the material includes a planar layer of MFI zeolite where the planar layer ranges in thickness between 4 nm and 10 nm for at least 70% of a basal area of the planar layer. The direct synthesized nanosheets exhibited superior selectivity and flux compared to the state-of-the-art membranes made with exfoliated nanosheets or conventional crystals.

Improved Zeolite Membrane

Previous methods of preparing zeolite nanosheets are time-consuming, costly, low-yield and result in fragmented nanosheets with sub-micrometer lateral dimensions. This direct synthesis method provides a viable path to high-aspect-ratio zeolite nanosheets, with improved yield at a lower cost.


  • Direct synthesis; easier to prepare
  • Nanometer thicknesses: between 4 nm and 10 nm for at least 70% of a basal area of the planar layer
  • Superior selectivity and flux
  • Enhanced mass transport properties within their nanopores
  • High aspect ratio
  • Higher yield
  • Potentially lower cost


  • Zeolite membranes
  • Chemical / petroleum separation equipment
  • High-performance separation membranes
  • Catalysis and separation

Phase of Development - Prototype developed