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Researchers use nanocellulose to create materials with new properties



From nanocellulose to gold

Nanocellulose is decorated with metal nanoparticles. Credit: Magnus Johansson

When nanocellulose is combined with various types of metal nanoparticles, materials are formed with many new and interesting properties. They can be antibacterial, change color under pressure, or convert light into heat.

“Simply put, we make gold from nanocellulose,”

; said Daniel Aili, associate professor at the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology at Linköping University.

The team, led by Daniel Aili, used a bacterial biosynthesis nanocellulose and was originally developed for wound care. The scientists then decorated the cellulose with metal nanoparticles, mainly silver and gold. Particles, not larger than a few billionths of a meter, are first tuned to give the desired properties, then combined with nanocellulose.

“Nanocellulose is composed of thin cellulose fibers, approximately one-thousandth the diameter of a human hair. These fibers act as a three-dimensional support for metal particles. When the particles attach themselves to the cellulose, a The material consists of a network of particles and cellulose forms, “explains Daniel Aili.

Researchers can determine with high accuracy how many particles will attach and their identities. They can also mix different metal particles and have different shapes – spherical, elliptical and triangular.

From nanocellulose to gold

As the pressure is increased, the final material appears to be gold. Credit: Magnus Johansson

In the first part of a scientific paper is published in Advanced functional materials, the team describes the process and explains why it works as it does now. The second part focuses on several areas of application.

An interesting phenomenon is the way in which the properties of the material change under pressure. Optical phenomena arise when particles approach and interact, and the material changes color. As the pressure is increased, the final material appears to be gold.

“We found that the material changed color when we picked it up with tweezers,” said Daniel Aili.

Scientists have named this phenomenon “mechanical effect” and it turns out to be very useful. A closely related application is in the sensors, since the sensor can be read with the naked eye. Example: If a protein sticks to a material, it no longer changes color when placed under pressure. If protein is an indicator of a particular disease, color unchanged can be used in the diagnosis. If the material changes color, the marker protein is not present.

Another interesting phenomenon is shown by a variation of a material that absorbs light from visible light in a much broader spectrum and produces heat. This property can be used for both energy-based and medical applications.

“Our method is able to produce composites consisting of nanocellulose and metal nanoparticles that are soft and biocompatible for optical, catalytic, electrical and biomedical applications. can be self-assembled so we can manufacture complex materials with completely new well-defined properties, ”concludes Daniel Aili.


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More information:
Olof Eskilson et al. Self-assembly of synthetic mechanical bacteria metal-cellulose nanoparticle composites, Advanced functional materials (Year 2020). DOI: 10.1002 / adfm.202004766

Provided by Linköping University



Quote: Researchers use nanocellulose to create materials with new properties (2020, August 10) retrieved August 11, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-08- nanocellulose-materials-properties.html

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