Digital color in cellulose nanocrystal films

Ahu Gümrah Dumanli*, Hanne M. Van Der Kooij, Gen Kamita, Erwin Reisner, Jeremy J. Baumberg, Ullrich Steiner, Silvia Vignolini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)


Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) form chiral nematic phases in aqueous suspensions that can be preserved upon evaporation of water. The resulting films show an intense directional coloration determined by their microstructure. Here, microreflection experiments correlated with analysis of the helicoidal nanostructure of the films reveal that the iridescent colors and the ordering of the individual nematic layers are strongly dependent on the polydispersity of the size distribution of the CNCs. We show how this affects the self-assembly process, and hence multidomain color formation in such bioinspired structural films.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12302-12306
Number of pages5
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • cellulose nanocrystals
  • chiral-nematic films
  • iridescence
  • self-assembly
  • structural color

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