Recent development of organic solvent nanofiltration (OSN) materials has been overwhelmingly directed toward tight membranes with ultrahigh permeance. However, emerging research into OSN applications is suggesting that improved separation selectivity is at least as important as further increases in membrane permeance. Membrane solutions are being proposed to improve selectivity, mostly by exploiting solute/solvent/membrane interactions and by fabricating tailored membranes. Because achieving a perfect separation with a single membrane stage is difficult, process engineering solutions, such as membrane cascades, are also being advocated. Here we review these approaches to the selectivity challenge, and to clarify our analysis, we propose a selectivity figure of merit that is based on the permselectivity between the two solutes undergoing separation as well as the ratio of their molecular weights.


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