Dr. Guang Chu
Cellulose, the most abundant biopolymer on earth, is the main structural component of green plants. When the bulk cellulose microfibrils are employed to controlled acid hydrolysis, negatively charged nanocellulose colloids are obtained with twisted rod-like morphology. Dispersing nanocellulose particles into specific solvents, the particles will spontaneously self-assemble into lyotropic cholesteric liquid crystal phase, which is extremely stable even with the addition of guest additives, such as polymers, nanoparticles, surfactants and inorganic precursors, acting as a robust host matrix for designing functional materials.
Despite the perspective of nanocellulose’s chemistry, templating, chirality and self-assembly, here in this talk, I will provide a new perspective on constructing hierarchical macroscopic nanocellulose materials from microscopic liquid crystal building blocks. In particularly, I will describe the use of colloidal assembly of nanocellulose to generate custom-tailored photonic structure with engineered optical coupling (fluorescence-photonic, plasmonic-photonic and photonic-photonic) and confinement induced complex soft matter (bubble, emulsion, colloidal glass, and non-equilibrium matter). These results demonstrate that nanocellulose colloids can be served as a versatile platform to sustain both cholesteric liquid crystal ordering and specific optical, assembly, rheology and interfacial properties.
In conclusion, I will talk about my future research plan to fully explore the self-assembly power of nanocellulose to construct “artificial active, adaptive and autonomous material systems” (4AMS).
Keywords: Nanocellulose, Self-assembly, Liquid Crystal, Custom-tailored Photonics, Soft Matter