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Structural Details of Cellulose Nanocrystals/Polyelectrolytes Multilayers Probed by Neutron Reflectivity and AFM

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journal contribution
posted on 2008-04-01, 00:00 authored by Bruno Jean, Frédéric Dubreuil, Laurent Heux, Fabrice Cousin
Neutron reflectivity measurements and AFM observations were used as complementary techniques to investigate multilayered films consisting of alternating sheets of rigid cellulose nanocrystals and flexible poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH) prepared by the layer-by-layer assembly technique. Both techniques showed that smooth films with a high load of cellulose could be obtained. After deposition, the cellulose component occurred as a double layer with different densities:  50% and 25% for the lower and upper layer, respectively. A linear growth of the multilayer and the presence of a Bragg peak on neutron reflectivity curves indicated the formation of a well-ordered structure resulting from entropy-driven assembly and smoothening effect of the flexible PAH macromolecules. The possible alignment of the nanocrystals when anisotropic suspensions were used is also shown and opens the route to an improved control of the architecture of these multilayers.