Development of Model Cellulose Substrates

Who’s Involved?

Research Introduction

Our group works on understanding surfaces of wood components such as cellulose and lignin.  We determine factors such as what chemicals groups are present and in what amounts, how are distributed etc.  With this baseline information we modify the surfaces in order to optimize their physical properties for use in materials, and study how various chemical and biological treatments alter the surfaces

Research Details

We employ a range of spectroscopic and microscopic techniques to characterize cellulosic surfaces, pre and post modification.  Techniques employed include sum frequency spectroscopy to provide the orientation and conformation of interfacial species, infrared spectroscopy and microscopy for surface composition and functional group distribution, and atomic force microscopy for surface topography.  Surface modifications include chemical treatments, physical treatments and adsorption of polymeric or surfactant species.  While some of the work is fundamental in nature, a large focus of the group is in tailoring surfaces for improved performance in materials applications, the creation of new products, and the reduction of energy use in processing.

What’s New on this Project?

We are using spin-coating to prepare cellulose thin films on thiolized gold substrates. The thickness of the cellulose thin films is about 195nm, the roughness of surfaces is in the range of 1-5nm.