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Title: Iridescence and circular dichroism in cellulose nanocrystal thin films
Author: Hewson, Daniel James
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 1904
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2017
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Only in recent times has the true potential of cellulose as a high-end functional and sustainable material been realised. As the world’s most abundant resource cellulose has been utilised by man throughout history for timber, paper and yarns. It is found in every plant as a hierarchical material and can be extracted and converted into fibres which are of great use, especially in the form of nanofibrous materials. This thesis has focused on the utilisation and ability of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) to generate structural colour in fabricated thin films. This has been achieved in two ways: Firstly, the natural morphology of CNCs and their ability to form a suspension have been applied to a layer-by-layer (LbL) regime to produce tunable Bragg reflecting thin films. Secondly, a novel technique combining profilometry and spectroscopy has been developed to estimate the distribution of CNCs within EISA thin films and correlate this with the optical properties of the film. This thesis reports the successful fabrication of synthetic CNC LbL Bragg reflecting thin films. The film was compiled using an additive layer-by-layer technique which allowed the construction of a multi-layered thin film and control over individual layer thicknesses and refractive index. Also reported is the discovered reflection of both left and right handed circularly polarised light (CPL) from CNC EISA thin films. These reflections were found to correlate with CNC distribution within the thin films. The distribution of CNCs was estimated using a novel technique which combined spectroscopically measured film absorbance as a function of the volume of the film area under investigation. The specific volumes were calculated using profilometry measurements and the beam spot size used in the spectroscopy measurements.
Supervisor: Eichhorn, Stephen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Nanocrystallline cellulose ; Iridescence ; Bragg stack ; layer by layer assembly ; Photonic structure