Layer-by-Layer Spray-Coating of Cellulose Nanofibrils and Silver Nanoparticles for Hydrophilic Interfaces

Qing Chen, Calvin J. Brett, Andrei Chumakov, Marc Gensch, Matthias Schwartzkopf, Volker Körstgens, L. Daniel Söderberg, Anton Plech, Peng Zhang, Peter Müller-Buschbaum, Stephan V. Roth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) and AgNP-based composite materials have attracted growing interest due to their structure-dependent optical, electrical, catalytic, and stimuli-responsive properties. For practical applications, polymeric materials are often combined with AgNPs to provide flexibility and offer a scaffold for homogenous distribution of the AgNPs. However, the control over the assembly process of AgNPs on polymeric substrates remains a big challenge. Herein, we report the fabrication of AgNP/cellulose nanofibril (CNF) thin films via layer-by-layer (LBL) spray-coating. The morphology and self-assembly of AgNPs with increasing number of spray cycles are characterized by atomic force microscopy (AFM), grazing-incidence small-angle X-ray scattering (GISAXS), and grazing-incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering (GIWAXS). We deduce that an individual AgNP (radius = 15 ± 3 nm) is composed of multiple nanocrystallites (diameter = 2.4 ± 0.9 nm). Our results suggest that AgNPs are assembled into large agglomerates on SiO2 substrates during spray-coating, which is disadvantageous for AgNP functionalization. However, the incorporation of CNF substrates contributes to a more uniform distribution of AgNP agglomerates and individual AgNPs by its network structure and by absorbing the partially dissolved AgNP agglomerates. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the spray-coating of the AgNP/CNF mixture results in similar topography and agglomeration patterns of AgNPs compared to depositing AgNPs onto a precoated CNF thin film. Contact-angle measurements and UV/vis spectroscopy suggest that the deposition of AgNPs onto or within CNFs could increase the hydrophilicity of AgNP-containing surfaces and the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) intensity of AgNP compared to AgNPs sprayed on SiO2 substrates, suggesting their potential applications in antifouling coatings or label-free biosensors. Thereby, our approach provides a platform for a facile and scalable production of AgNP/CNF films with a low agglomeration rate by two different methods as follows: (1) multistep layer-by-layer (LBL) spray-coating and (2) direct spray-coating of the AgNP/CNF mixture. We also demonstrate the ability of CNFs as a flexible framework for directing the uniform assembly of AgNPs with tailorable wettability and plasmonic properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-513
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Nano Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - 22 Jan 2021


  • cellulose nanofibrils
  • layer-by-layer deposition
  • self-assembly
  • silver nanoparticles
  • spray-coating


Dive into the research topics of 'Layer-by-Layer Spray-Coating of Cellulose Nanofibrils and Silver Nanoparticles for Hydrophilic Interfaces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this