Design and characterization of an electrochemically-modulated membrane chromatography device

Dennis Röcker, Katharina Dietmann, Larissa Nägler, Xiao Su, Paula Fraga-García, Sebastian P. Schwaminger, Sonja Berensmeier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Membrane separations offer a compelling alternative to traditional chromatographic methods by overcoming mass transport limitations. We introduce an additional degree of freedom in modulating membrane chromatography by using metalized membranes in a potential-driven process. Investigating the impact of a gold coating on membrane characteristics, the sputtered gold layer enhances the surface conductivity with stable electrochemical behavior. However, this comes at the expense of reduced permeability, wettability, and static binding capacity (∼ 474 µg g−1 of maleic acid). The designed device displayed a homogenous flow distribution, and the membrane electrodes exhibit predominantly capacitive behavior during potential application. Modulating the electrical potential during the adsorption and desorption phase strongly influenced the binding and elution behavior of anion-exchange membranes. Switching potentials between ±1.0 V vs. Ag/AgCl induces desorption, confirming the process principle. Elution efficiency reaches up to 58 % at -1.0 V vs. Ag/AgCl in the desorption phase without any alteration of the mobile phase. Increasing the potential perturbation ranging from +1.0 V to -1.0 V vs. Ag/AgCl resulted in reduced peak width and improved elution behavior, demonstrating the feasibility of electrochemically-modulated membrane chromatography. The developed process has great potential as a gentle and sustainable separation step in the biotechnological and chemical industry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number464733
JournalJournal of Chromatography A
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2024


  • Capacitive processing
  • Device design
  • Electrically conductive membranes
  • Electrochemically-modulated chromatography
  • Organic acids


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