Lab Affiliation(s):
Jeffrey C. Grossman Group
Jeffrey C. Grossman
Areas of Expertise:
  • technology commercialization
  • clean water technology development
Expected date of graduation:
February 15, 2014

David Cohen-Tanugi

  • PhD


  • Materials Science and Engineering

Lab Affiliation(s): 

Jeffrey C. Grossman Group


Jeffrey C. Grossman

Top 3 Areas of Expertise: 

technology commercialization
clean water technology development

Expected date of graduation: 

February 15, 2014


Thesis Title: 

Nanoporous graphene as a water desalination membrane

Thesis Abstract: 

Developing a novel membrane material to produce fresh water using seawater desalination. Broke new ground by demonstrating that graphene, a one-atom-thick layer of carbon, would exhibit 500 times greater water permeability than conventional polymer membranes. Atomic-scale computational methods highlighted in Technology Review and Nature Nanotechnology. Brought original publication within Nano Letters’ five most read articles of the year by delivering 29 separate talks as of March 2014.

Top 5 Awards and honors (name of award, date received): 

Forbes 30 Under 30 (Energy & Industry Category) (January 2014)
Top 5 Most Surprising Scientific Milestone of 2012, Smithsonian Magazine, December 2012
Best Paper By a 1st or 2nd Year Graduate Student, MIT Dept. of Materials Science & Engineering, June 2012
Exceptional First Year Performance Award, MIT Dept. of Materials Science & Engineering, June 2011
Kusaka Memorial Prize in Physics, Princeton University, June 2008

5 Recent Papers: 

D Cohen-Tanugi and J. Grossman, ‘Water permeability of nanoporous graphene at realistic pressures for reverse osmosis desalination’, Journal of Chemical Physics (August 2014)

D Cohen-Tanugi, RK McGovern, SH Dave, JH Lienhard and JC Grossman, ‘Quantifying the Potential of Ultra-permeable Desalination Membranes’, Energy & Environmental Science (January 2014)

D. Cohen-Tanugi, ‘A Pinch of Salt: Why China's Brute Force Push Toward Desalination May Leave the World Better Off’, China Environment Series ‘12, Woodrow Wilson Center (January 2014)

D. Cohen-Tanugi and J. Grossman, ‘Water Desalination Across Nanoporous Graphene’, Nano Letters (June 2012) 

Contact Information:
32 Vassar St