Utilizing a combination of atomic layer deposition and dip-coating techniques, we have incorporated natural nanocellulose fibers into an inorganic matrix in order to create a layered hybrid inorganic-organic thin-film structure. Such layer-engineered hybrid materials with an unorthodox combination of components are highly potential candidates for exciting new properties. Here, we show a more than an order of magnitude reduction in the cross-plane thermal conductivity for ZnO thin films achieved with the regular inclusion of the cellulose nanofiber layers. We foresee that a similar approach as presented here for ZnO could also be applied to other inorganic materials based on earth-abundant elements to influence their thermal transport properties.
Jin, H., Marin, G., Giri, A., Tynell, T., Gestranius, M., Wilson, B. P., Kontturi, E., Tammelin, T., Hopkins, P. E., & Karppinen, M. (2017). Strongly reduced thermal conductivity in hybrid ZnO/nanocellulose thin films. Journal of Materials Science, 52(10), 6093-6099. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10853-017-0848-5