TL9 Watch: molecular filters.

As Ken Hite noted last night on Twitter, this is kind of a big deal.

A defense contractor better known for building jet fighters and lethal missiles says it has found a way to slash the amount of energy needed to remove salt from seawater, potentially making it vastly cheaper to produce clean water at a time when scarcity has become a global security issue.

The process, officials and engineers at Lockheed Martin Corp say, would enable filter manufacturers to produce thin carbon membranes with regular holes about a nanometer in size that are large enough to allow water to pass through but small enough to block the molecules of salt in seawater. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter.

It may be a while before we see the stuff from Lockheed, though: turns out that there are production issues with making a sheet that’s literally one atom thick (which I assume means that the stuff is both effectively invisible and barely existing in the space-time continuum). Who knew?

Moe Lane