There are significant advantages in the development of flexible laser materials based on organic and biological materials, which could have wide-ranging applications including those in wearable sensors. This project applies a fundamental approach to advantage of the inherit polarization properties of cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) to create new lasing materials. The challenges investigators address are the toxicity, water solubility and stability of organic materials. To address these barriers, they will explore the properties of a diverse classes of materials.
The PI provides good evidence that CNC films have left-handed circular dichroism that can be enhanced and modified by inclusion of polymers, which can further increase the strength and flexibility of the films. To produce lasing materials, the PIs plan to incorporate quantum dots (QDs) into the films.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.