Structural Color and Iridescence in Transparent Sheared Cellulosic Films

Susete Nogueira Fernandes, Yong Geng, Silvia Vignolini, Beverley J. Glover, Ana C. Trindade, João Paulo Heitor Godinho Canejo, Pedro L. Almeida, Pedro Brogueira, Maria Helena Figueiredo Godinho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Shear transparent cellulose free-standing thin films can develop iridescence similar to that found in petals of the tulip “Queen of the Night.” The iridescence of the film arises from the modulation of the surface into bands periodically spread perpendicular to the shear direction. Small amounts of nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) rods in the precursor liquid-crystalline solutions do not disturb the optical properties of the solutions but enhance the mechanical char- acteristics of the films and affects their iridescence. Smaller bands periodicity, not affected by the NCC rods, slightly devi- ated from the shear direction is also observed. NCCs are crucial to tune and understand the film’s surface features formation. Our findings could lead to new materials for application in soft reflective screens and devices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-32
JournalMacromolecular Chemistry And Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • cellulose free-standing films
  • iridescence
  • liquid-crystalline polymer solutions
  • nanocrystalline cellulose rods
  • structural colors


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