A simple, solvent-free and low cost method to activate the surface of nanofibrillated cellulose films for further functionalization is presented. The method is based on the oxidative properties of UV radiation and ozone, to effectively remove contaminants from nanocellulosic surface, which remains clean and reactive for at least a week. The efficiency of the method is demonstrated by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and contact angle measurements. In clear contrast to previous results on nanoscaled cellulose the relative atomic concentration of non-cellulosic carbon atoms was only 4 %, and water completely wetted the surface within seconds. After activation, neither chemical degradation nor morphological changes on cellulose were observed. This surface activation is essential for further functionalization of the film in dry state or nonpolar media. The surface activation was confirmed by silylation and a four times higher degree of substitution was achieved on the activated sample compared to non-activated reference film, as monitored with XPS.
- microfibrillated cellulose