Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 54, Issue 8, pp 6699–6708 | Cite as

Chiral nematic assemblies of silver nanoparticles in cellulose nanocrystal membrane with tunable optical properties

  • Liu Liu
  • Lijun Wang
  • Sha Luo
  • Yan QingEmail author
  • Ning Yan
  • Yiqiang WuEmail author


Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) possessing chiral nematic structures have been developed as liquid crystal templates for optical materials and devices. These templates provide materials with advanced structural and optical properties, leading to numerous promising discoveries of new functional materials. In this work, the chiral nematic CNC/silver nanoparticles (CNC/AgNPs) composite membranes were prepared and displayed striking iridescent colors. The addition of AgNPs strengthened the chiral structure of CNC-based composites by adjusting the pitch of the chiral nematic structure. As the AgNPs content decreased from 8 to 2 wt%, a redshift of the reflection wavelength was observed from 475 to 773 nm, and the distance between the two adjacent layers of the membrane increased from 155 to 254 nm, according to a fitted linear function. Therefore, this composite membrane exhibited excellent chiral optical properties, and the chiral reflectance could be tuned accurately by regulating the content ratio of CNCs to AgNPs. New insights into designing advanced functional optics were provided, herein to show their potential applications, such as in smart windows and anti-counterfeit labels.



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31500476, 31530009), the Young Elite Scientists Sponsorship Program by CAST (2016QNRC001), the Science and Technology Project of Hunan Province (2018RS3092, 2016TP1013 and 2018WK4028) and the Outstanding Innovative Youth Training Program of Changsha (KQ1707019).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest to declare.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Materials Science and TechnologyCentral South University of Forestry and TechnologyChangshaPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Hunan Provincial Collaborative Innovation Center for High-efficiency Utilization of Wood and Bamboo ResourcesCentral South University of Forestry and TechnologyChangshaPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Faculty of ForestryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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