FAST Research Group

Fundamentals and Applications of Selective (separation) Technology

Welcome to the Epsztein Lab!

Who are we?

We are a research group led by Dr. Razi Epsztein at the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Technion. We aim to develop selective separation technologies for a wide range of environmental applications, with a focus on membrane technologies at the water-energy nexus.

Why is selectivity important? 

Membrane technology is doing pretty well in water purification and desalination where ideally ALL solutes are UNselectively separated from water. But what if we want to remove a specific pollutant from drinking water and keep the good minerals in the water? Or recover a valuable element from a mixture of species? These examples and many others require membranes that can discriminate between different species.  But besides the necessity for selectivity, we find this area of research super interesting!!!

How do we create selectivity?

That’s a great question and the reason why we are here: to figure it out! To do this, we need first to understand the molecular mechanisms that enable selectivity between different species and then develop robust membranes that selectively separate desired species using these mechanisms. 

The research in our lab is divided into three main avenues as illustrated in the diagram and explained below:

The diagram describes the three research avenues investigated in the lab

(1) Fundamental study on molecular transport and selectivity in confined environment using polymeric membranes and advanced materials that allow the synthesis of simulative well-defined pores.

(2) Design and fabrication of selective membranes based on the insights gained from (1), with a focus on tailoring the physical and chemical properties of the membrane.

(3) Development of membrane processes for various applications that require increased selectivity. Since biological degradation is inherently selective, we also study the combination of membrane technologies with biological processes.