Luminescent Gold Nanocluster-Methylcellulose Composite Optical Fibers with Low Attenuation Coefficient and High Photostability

Ville Hynninen, Sourov Chandra, Susobhan Das, Mohammad Amini, Yunyun Dai, Sakari Lepikko, Pezhman Mohammadi, Sami Hietala, Robin H. A. Ras, Zhipei Sun, Olli Ikkala (Corresponding Author), N. Nonappa (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Because of their lightweight structure, flexibility, and immunity to electromagnetic interference, polymer optical fibers (POFs) are used in numerous short-distance applications. Notably, the incorporation of luminescent nanomaterials in POFs offers optical amplification and sensing for advanced nanophotonics. However, conventional POFs suffer from nonsustainable components and processes. Furthermore, the traditionally used luminescent nanomaterials undergo photobleaching, oxidation, and they can be cytotoxic. Therefore, biopolymer-based optical fibers containing nontoxic luminescent nanomaterials are needed, with efficient and environmentally acceptable extrusion methods. Here, such an approach for fibers wet-spun from aqueous methylcellulose (MC) dispersions under ambient conditions is demonstrated. Further, the addition of either luminescent gold nanoclusters, rod-like cellulose nanocrystals or gold nanocluster-cellulose nanocrystal hybrids into the MC matrix furnishes strong and ductile composite fibers. Using cutback attenuation measurement, it is shown that the resulting fibers can act as short-distance optical fibers with a propagation loss as low as 1.47 dB cm−1. The optical performance is on par with or even better than some of the previously reported biopolymeric optical fibers. The combination of excellent mechanical properties (Young's modulus and maximum strain values up to 8.4 GPa and 52%, respectively), low attenuation coefficient, and high photostability makes the MC-based composite fibers excellent candidates for multifunctional optical fibers and sensors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2005205
Number of pages13
Issue number27
Early online date25 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


V.H. and S.C. contributed equally to this work. This work was carried out under the Academy of Finland's Centre of Excellence in Molecular Engineering of Biosynthetic Hybrid Materials Research (HYBER, 2014–2019), ERC for Advanced grant (Driven 2017–2022), FinnCERES, and Photonic Research and Innovation (PREIN) Flagship (Grant No. 320167). Z.S. acknowledges funding from the Academy of Finland (Grant Nos. 325810, 312297, and 314810) and ERC grant (Grant No. 834742). S.C. acknowledges the Academy of Finland for project funding (Grant No. 310799). The authors acknowledge the provision of facilities and technical support by Aalto University OtaNano – Nanomicroscopy Center (Aalto‐NMC). P.M. acknowledges the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation (Centre for Young Synbio Scientists). V.H. acknowledges financial support from Walter Ahlström Foundation and Finnish Foundation for Technology Promotion.


  • biopolymers
  • cellulose nanocrystals
  • gold nanocrystals
  • methylcellulose
  • nanocomposites
  • optical fibers
  • photoluminescence


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