Capillary confinement produces organized photonic films

Asymmetric drying promotes alignment of cellulose nanocrystals

NOVEMBER 18, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 46 of Chemical and Engineering NewsInside a rectangular capillary, a suspension of cellulose nanocrystals dries asymmetrically, refracting different colors of light as it solidifies.

Photonic thin films—in which ordered nanostructures interact with light to produce color—can be used to make lightweight and flexible color filters, sensors, display components, and more. But ensuring that the nanocrystals within them align uniformly to produce well-defined color can be difficult and time consuming. Casting such a film in a dish, for example, can take weeks and still result in poorly controlled nanostructures and colors. Now, Georgia Institute of Technology’s Vladimir V. Tsukruk and colleagues at the Air Force Research Lab and Kent State University have developed a capillary-based method that makes highly ordered photonic thin films in a matter of hours (Nano Lett. 2018, DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b02522).

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POSTED: Monday, November 26, 2018 - 7:54am
UPDATED: Friday, December 7, 2018 - 4:00pm
Kerri Jansen, C&EN