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Co-assembly of stearoylated cellulose nanocrystals and GO (or CNTs) for the construction of superhydrophobic hierarchical structure with enhanced photothermal conversion.

Carbohydrate Polymers 2023 September 2
The development of photothermal materials with high photothermal-conversion efficiencies is important in a range of applications, such as power generation, sterilization, desalination, and energy-production. To date, a few reports have been published related to improving the photothermal conversion performances of photothermal materials based on self-assembled nanolamellae. Herein, hybrid films of co-assembled stearoylated cellulose nanocrystals (SCNCs) and polymer-grafted graphene oxide (pGO)/polymer-grafted carbon nanotubes (pCNTs) were prepared. The chemical compositions, microstructures, and morphologies of these products were characterized, and it was found that the self-assembled SCNC structures exhibited numerous surface nanolamellae due to crystallization of the long alkyl chains. The hybrid films (i.e., SCNC/pGO and SCNC/pCNTs films) consisted of ordered nanoflake structures, confirming the co-assembly behavior of the SCNCs with pGO or pCNTs. The melting temperature (~65 °C) and latent heat of melting (87.87 J/g) of SCNC1.07 indicate its potential to induce the formation of nanolamellar pGO or pCNTs. Under light irradiation (50-200 mW/cm2 ), the pCNTs exhibited a higher light absorption capacity than pGO, and as a result, the SCNC/pCNTs film exhibited the best photothermal performance and electrical conversion, ultimately demonstrating its potential for use as a solar thermal device in practical applications.

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