track-etched membrane (rus. мембрана, трековая) — thin crystalline layers, metal foils or films (usually polymer with a thickness of 5 to 25 microns), whose pore system is formed by irradiation of initial non-porous materials with high-energy particles and subsequent etching of latent tracks of such particles to form through pores of a given diameter.


Such particles producing latent tracks can include accelerated heavy charged ions, flows of high-speed nano- and microparticles or products of their division, as well as beams of synchrotron radiation (ion-track technology). Colloidal particles flowing at speeds of 5-10 m/s form pores at once, without etching. The main differences between track-etched membranes and traditional membranes are the correct geometry of pores, ability to control their number per unit of membrane surface area and narrow pore size distribution. The pore sizes of track-etched membranes with scientific or practical value are in the range from 1 nm (primary track channel of high-energy particles) to several hundred nanometres (track-etched ultra and micro-filtration membranes).

Track membranes are used in medicine, for example in the purification of drugs and viral suspensions (vaccines), in obtaining blood plasma (plasmapheresis treatment), and in bacteriological quality control of food and water. They are used for cleaning air and liquids, for example, in creating clean rooms, and in drinking water purification systems, as well as in systems of analytical control of substances.


Electron microphotograph of a track membrane's surface (a) and ch
Electron microphotograph of a track membrane's surface (a) and chip (b).


  • Sklyar Vladimir I.
  • Smirnov Andrey V.


  1. Mchedlishvili B. V., Volkov V. V., et al Membranes and nanotechnologies. // Nanotechnologies in Russia (in Russia). 2008. V. 3, №11–12. 67 pp.

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