Thin zeolite films are attractive for a wide range of applications, including molecular sieve membranes, catalytic membrane reactors, permeation barriers, and low-dielectric-constant materials. Synthesis of thin zeolite films using high-aspect-ratio zeolite nanosheets is desirable because of the packing and processing advantages of the nanosheets over isotropic zeolite nanoparticles. Attempts to obtain a dispersed suspension of zeolite nanosheets via exfoliation of their lamellar precursors have been hampered because of their structure deterioration and morphological damage (fragmentation, curling, and aggregation). We demonstrated the synthesis and structure determination of highly crystalline nanosheets of zeolite frameworks MWW and MFI. The purity and morphological integrity of these nanosheets allow them to pack well on porous supports, facilitating the fabrication of molecular sieve membranes.
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