Engineering polymer-nanocellulose systems towards sustainable devices
Risteen, Bailey E.
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This thesis explores nanocellulose-polymer systems for use in organic electronics applications. Each chapter provides an understanding of the interactions between polymers and cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) that give rise to desirable morphologies and optoelectronic properties, which can be used in the design of advanced electronic materials. Chapter 2 presents a proof-of-concept study looking at the compatibility and templating ability of CNCs with a water-soluble semiconducting polymer. The liquid crystal phase behavior of the blended system and its effect on semiconducting polymer alignment are explored. Chapter 3 expands on this work; a temperature-switchable liquid crystal template is developed by grafting a thermoresponsive polymer from the ends of the CNCs. The effect of the polymer grafting morphology on the degree and reversibility of the thermal “switch” is studied. Finally, Chapter 4 revisits the topic of semiconducting polymer organization. CNCs are grafted with polymers of varying surface energies and are blended with a benchmark semiconducting polymer. The effect of the CNC surface chemistry on the self-assembly of the semiconducting polymer is investigated. Chapter 5 summarizes the major findings of these three chapters and provides suggestions for future work.