Silica membranes having macrochannels with mesoporous walls were spontaneously fabricated using a self-organized process with rapid gelation of concentrated silicate and surfactant precursor solutions. The specific hierarchical porous framework consisting of straight macrochannels ca. 1 μm in diameter is similar to that of a biological silica frustule of diatoms. We applied the diatom-mimetic channeled mesoporous silica membranes to high-permeability-rate filtration and enhanced photocatalytic systems. The presence of macrochannels was found to improve the performance of the mesoporous silica membranes in filtration and as a photocatalyst carrier.
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