The outstanding capacity of aquaporins (AQPs) for mediating highly selective superfast water transport1-7 has inspired recent development of supramolecular monovalent ion-excluding artificial water channels (AWCs). AWC-based bioinspired membranes are proposed for desalination, water purification, and other separations applications8-18. While some recent progress has been made in synthesizing AWCs that approach the water permeability and ion selectivity of AQPs, a hallmark feature of AQPs – high water transport while excluding protons has not been reproduced. We report on a class of biomimetic, helically folded pore-forming polymeric foldamers, that can serve as long sought-after highly selective ultrafast water-conducting channels exceeding those of AQPs (1.1 × 1010 H2O molecules/s for AQP17), with high water over monovalent ion transport selectivity (~108 water molecules over Cl- ion) conferred by the modularly tunable hydrophobicity of the interior pore surface. The best-performing AWC reported here delivers water transport at an exceptionally high rate, 2.5 times that of AQP1, while concurrently rejecting salts (NaCl and KCl) and even protons.
As accepted version after peer review