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February 16th, 2007
A new, ultraslim silicon film may be just the thing for filtering molecules of different sizes, such as the waste products removed during kidney dialysis. Researchers have grown porous, 50-atom-thick layers of silicon that block the passage of some protein molecules while letting others of nearly the same size pass through.
"This is a tremendous leap forward in membrane technology," says materials researcher Christopher Striemer of the University of Rochester, part of a group that created the filters and has formed a start-up company to commercialize them.
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