Fabrication of single-crystalline gold nanowires on cellulose nanofibers

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Cellulose nanofibers (CNF) are promising nanomaterials for functional inks and printed sensors, although the potential applications are currently limited by the available functionalization methods. This work outlines a convenient method to grow a novel and highly conductive network of single-crystalline gold nanowires (AuNW) on CNF for use in conductive inks and printed sensors. The CNF are able to reduce Au (III) precursors to Au (0) monomers and generate nucleation sites for the subsequent monomer-by-monomer growth of Au nanocrystals; sodium citrate is used to control the reduction kinetics and the crystal growth. The growth of these AuNW/CNF materials is a three-step process of redox reaction, isotropic nucleation and anisotropic crystallization: the morphology and crystal structure of Au nanocrystals on CNF can be controlled by adjusting the reaction temperature and concentrations of citrate and CNF. The AuNW/CNF materials obtained have been formulated into highly conductive and atmospherically stable inks for use in either directly writing or screen printing. We have demonstrated AuNW/CNF-printed sensors with highly controllable electrical conductivity as well as excellent stability against rinsing and immersion by water and ethanol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-341
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2020


  • Cellulose nanofibers (CNF)
  • Conductive ink
  • Gold nanowires (AuNW)
  • Kinetic control
  • Printed sensors
  • Single-crystalline

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