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Keywords:

  • stimuli-responsive materials;
  • host-guest recognition;
  • smart membranes;
  • gating membranes;
  • potassium ions
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

A unique, positively K+-responsive membrane is reported by Xiao-Jie Ju, Liang-Yin Chu, and co-workers on page 4742. The membrane pores can spontaneously and reversibly switch from the closed state to the open state rapidly by recognizing K+ ions in the environment. Other ions (e.g., Na+, Ca2+) do not trigger such a gating function. The K+-triggered opening of the membrane gates is driven by a cooperative interaction of crown-ether-based host-guest complexation and poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-based phase transition.