Reflection of circularly polarized light and the effect of particle distribution on circular dichroism in evaporation induced self-assembled cellulose nanocrystal thin films
American Institute of Physics
© 2017 Author(s). All article content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Evaporation induced self-assembled (EISA) thin films of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) have shown great potential for displaying structural colour across the visible spectrum. They are believed primarily to reflect left handed circularly polarised (LCP) light due to their natural tendency to form structures comprising left handed chirality. Accordingly the fabrication of homogenously coloured CNC thin films is challenging. Deposition of solid material towards the edge of a dried droplet, via the coffee-stain effect, is one such difficulty in achieving homogenous colour across CNC films. These effects are most easily observed in films prepared from droplets where observable reflection of visible light is localised around the edge of the dry film. We report here, the observation of both left and right hand circularly polarised (LCP/RCP) light in reflection from distinct separate regions of CNC EISA thin films and we elucidate how these reflections are dependent on the distribution of CNC material within the EISA thin film. Optical models of reflection are presented which are based on structures revealed using high resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images of film cross sections. We have also employed spectroscopic characterisation techniques to evaluate the distribution of solid CNC material within a selection of CNC EISA thin films and we have correlated this distribution with polarised light spectra collected from each film. We conclude that film regions from which RCP light was reflected were associated with lower CNC concentrations and thicker film regions.
The authors would like to thank the University of Exeter for providing funding for a doctoral studentship.
This is the final version of the article. Available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 7, 065308 (2017)