Multilayer Density Analysis of Cellulose Thin Films

An approach for the multilayer density analysis of polysaccharide thin films at the example of cellulose is presented. In detail, a model was developed for the evaluation of the density in different layers across the thickness direction of the film. The cellulose thin film was split into a so called “roughness layer” present at the surface and a “bulk layer” attached to the substrate surface. For this approach, a combination of multi-parameter surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy (SPR) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) was employed to detect changes in the properties, such as cellulose content and density, thickness and refractive index, of the surface near layer and the bulk layer. The surface region of the films featured a much lower density than the bulk. Further, these results correlate to X-ray reflectivity studies, indicating a similar layered structure with reduced density at the surface near regions. The proposed method provides an approach to analyse density variations in thin films which can be used to study material properties and swelling behavior in different layers of the films. Limitations and challenges of the multilayer model evaluation method of cellulose thin films were discussed. This particularly involves the selection of the starting values for iteration of the layer thickness of the top layer, which was overcome by incorporation of AFM data in this study.

Publication year: 2019
Authors: Sampl C. 1,2ʈ, Niegelhell K. 1,2ʈ, Reishofer D. 1ʈ, Resel R. 3ʈ, Spirk S. 1,2*ʈ, Hirn U. 1,2ʈ

1 – Institute for Paper, Pulp and Fiber Technology, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria

2 – CD- Laboratory for Fibel Swelling and Paper Performance, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria

3 – Institute of Solid State Physics, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria

ʈ – Members of NAWI Graz and the European Polysaccharide Network of Excellence (EPNOE)

Published in: Biopolymer Thin Films and Coatings
DOI: 10.3389/fchem.2019.00251


cellulose polymer density refractive index thickness


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