Abstract Membrane separation has become an important technology to deal with the global water crisis. The polymer-based membrane technology is currently in the forefront of water purification and desalination but is plagued with some bottlenecks. Laminated graphene oxide (GO) membranes exhibit excellent advantages in water purification and desalination due to the single atomic layer structure, hydrophilic property, rich oxygen-containing groups for modification, mechanical and chemical robust, anti-fouling properties, facile and large-scale production, etc. Thus the GO-based membrane technology is believed to offer huge opportunities for efficient and practical water treatment. This review systematically summarizes the current progress on the water flux and selectivity intensification, stability improvement, anti-fouling and anti-biofouling ability enhancement by structural control and modification. To improve the performance of the laminated GO membrane, interlayer spacing tunability and surface modification are mainly used to enhance its water flux and selectivity. It is found that the stability and biofouling also block the service life of the GO membrane. The crosslinking method is found to effectively solve the stability of GO membrane in aqueous environment. Introducing nanoparticles is a widely used method to improve the membrane biofouling ability. Overall, we believe that this review could provide benefit to researchers in the area of GO-based membrane technology for water treatment.

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