Luminescent film: biofouling investigation of tetraphenylethylene blended polyethersulfone ultrafiltration membrane

Yasin Orooji*, Ali Movahedi, Zhipeng Liu, Mohsen Asadnia, Ehsan Ghasali, Yadolah Ganjkhanlou, Amir Razmjou, Hassan Karimi-Maleh, Naser Tavajohi Hassan Kiadeh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


[Graphical abstract presents]

Despite the huge contribution of membrane-based brine and wastewater purification systems in today's life, biofouling still affects sustainability of membrane engineering. Aimed at reducing membrane modules wastage, the need to study biofouling monitoring as one of contributory factors stemmed from the short time between initial attachment and irreversible biofoulant adhesion. Hence, a membrane for monitoring is introduced to determine the right cleaning time by using fluorescent sensing as a non-destructive and scalable approach. The classical solid-state emissive fluorophore, tetraphenylethylene (TPE), was introduced as a sustainable, safe and sensitive fluorescent indicator in order to show the potential of the method, and polyethersulfone (PES) and nonsolvent-induced phase separation method, the most popular material and method, are used to fabricate membrane in industry and academia. Since the employed filler has an aggregation-induced emission (AIE) characteristic, it can track the biofouling throughout the operation. The fabricated membranes have certain characterizations (i.e. morphology assessment, flux, antibiogram, flow cytometry, surface free energy, and protein adsorption) which indicate that hybrid membrane with 5 wt % of TPE has identical biofouling activity compared to neat PES membrane and its optimal luminescence properties make it an appropriate candidate for non-destructive and online biofouling monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Article number128871
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Luminescent membrane
  • Membrane cleaning
  • Aggregation-induced emission
  • Tetraphenylethylene


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