Membranes including anodic aluminum oxide structures that are adapted for separation, purification, filtration, analysis, reaction and sensing. The membranes can include a porous anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) structure having pore channels extending through the AAO structure. The membrane may also include an active layer, such as one including an active layer material and/or active layer pore channels. The active layer is intimately integrated within the AAO structure, thus enabling great robustness, reliability, resistance to mechanical stress and thermal cycling, and high selectivity. Methods for the fabrication of anodic aluminum oxide structures and membranes are also provided.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY-FUNDED RESEARCH
 This invention was funded in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 0420147, 0548757, 0539824 and 0724478, and by the Department of Energy under Grant No. DE-FG02-04ER84086, each administered by the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The Government has certain rights in this invention.