Bioinspired Nanocomposites and Nanocellulose Materials

We design self-assembly processes to mimic the structures and properties found in selected natural load-bearing hybrid materials, such as nacre, crustaceans, wood and silk. They are renowned for their unique combination of stiffness, toughness, strength with leightweightness, and present paradigms for future, lightweight, energy-efficient structural materials.

We are particularly interested in engineering these materials on a molecular level to equip them with supramolecular and photo-active units to reach sacrificial bonds and adaptive mechanical properties that can be modulated from the outside. Ultrastiff Nanocellulose/-chitin bionanoparticles are emerging for sustainable, mechanical high-performance, functional and bioactive materials, and are one of the key components, which we use to promote sustainable design. 

In contrast to biological needs, we also target functionalities relevant for the technological world and recently showed nanocellulose lasers, and unique combinations of transparency with barrier properties (gas, fire, corrosion).

Read our recent Account of Chemical Research on "Self-Assembled Bioinspired Nanocomposites" Acc. Chem. Res. 2020, 53, 2622.

5 Selected References:

1. Yao, X., Wang, J., Jiao, D., Huang, Z., Mhirsi, O., Lossada, F., Chen, L., Haehnle, B., Kuehne, A. J. K., Ma, X., Tian, H., Walther, A. “ Room‐Temperature Phosphorescence Enabled through Nacre‐Mimetic Nanocomposite Design” Adv. Mater. 33, 2005973 (2021).

2. Guo, J., Haehnle, B.,  Hoenders, D., Creusen, G. Jiao, D., Kuehne, A. J. K., Walther A. “Biodegradable Laser Arrays Self‐Assembled from Plant Resources” Adv. Mater. 2002332 (2020).

3. Das, P.; Malho, J.-M.; Koshrow, R.; Schacher, F.; Wang, B.; Walther, A.: “Nacre-Mimetics with Synthetic Nanoclays up to Ultrahigh Aspect Ratio” Nat. Commun. 6, 5967 (2015). 

4. Zhu, B.; Jasinski, N.; Noack, M.; Park, D.; Goldmann, A. S.; Barner-Kowollik, C.; Walther, A. “Hierarchical Nacre-Mimetics with Synergistic Mechanical Properties by Control of Molecular Interactions in Self-Healing Polymers” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 54, 8653 (2015).


5. Benitez A. J.; Torres-Rendon, J.; Poutanen, M.; Walther, A. “Humidity and Multiscale Structure Govern Mechanical Properties and Deformation Modes in Films of Native Cellulose Nanofibrils Biomacromolecules, 14, 4497 (2013).


1. Lossada, F., Hoenders, D., Guo, J., Jiao, D., Walther, A. “Self-Assembled Bioinspired Nanocomposites” Acc. Chem. Res. 53, 2622 (2020).

2. Benitez, A.; Walther, A. “Cellulose Nanofibril Nanopapers and Bioinspired Nanocomposites: A Review to Understand the Mechanical Property Space” J. Mater. Chem. A 5, 16003 (2017). - Invited Review for Special Issue on Green Materials and Surfaces

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