Cellulose–gold nanoparticle hybrid materials
Cellulose and gold nanoparticles have exciting characteristics and new combinations of both materials may lead to promising functional nanocomposites with unique properties. We have reviewed current research on cellulose–gold nanoparticle composite materials, and we present an overview of the preparation methods of cellulose–gold composite materials and discuss their applications. We start with the nanocomposite fabrication methods, covering in situ gold reduction, blending, and dip-coating methods to prepare gold–cellulose nanocomposite hybrids. We then move on to a discussion of the ensuing properties where the combination of gold nanoparticles with cellulose results in functional materials with specific catalytic, antimicrobial, sensing, antioxidant and Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) performance. Studies have also been carried out on orientationally ordered composite materials and on the chiral nematic phase behaviour of these nanocomposites. To exert even more control over the structure formation and the resultant properties of these functional materials, fundamental studies on the physico-chemical interactions of cellulose and gold are necessary to understand better the driving forces and limitations towards structuring of gold–cellulose hybrid materials.