UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Photonic materials based on cellulose nanocrystals Shukaliak, Amber Marie


The self-assembly of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) into a chiral nematic structure exhibiting photonic properties has garnered much interest in recent years. The development of free-standing chiral nematic films composed of mesoporous silica and organosilica using CNCs as a template has led to a number of studies on producing photonic films composed of inorganic compounds. These films can be tuned to reflect light within the visible spectrum, yielding an assortment of films that exhibit structural colour that is retained once formed, and can no longer be modified. The incorporation of a photonic structure into a flexible material, such as a hydrogel, would allow for colour changes to transpire after the film is formed. Here, the integration of a chiral nematic photonic structure into hydrogel films prepared from different monomers is reported. The swelling of the photonic hydrogels was explored through the use of UV-visible spectroscopy, and the strength of the gels was investigated. In addition to the formation of tunable photonic structures based on CNCs, also reported is the formation of hybrid photonic structures produced by combining two classes of photonic crystals. These films build onto the chiral nematic mesoporous silica films by introducing a secondary photonic structure, based on the close packed arrangement of nanospheres. These novel hybrid photonic structures were synthesized, and characterized using electron microscopy. The successful formation of composite photonic materials, such as CNC-hydrogels, and hybrid photonic films displays the potential for CNC to be used as a template to build photonic structures in a wide array of systems.

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