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Owing to its abundance, biodegradability and specific properties, cellulose is a very important renewable resource for the development of environmentally friendly, biocompatible and functional materials. Zinc oxide (ZnO) is a wide band gap semiconductor having a high electron-hole binding energy and important applications in electronics, optics, optoelectronics, lasers, and light-emitting diodes. The piezoelectric and pyroelectric properties of ZnO make it a great candidate for sensors, transducers, energy generators, and photocatalysts for hydrogen production. Once ZnO is combined with cellulose in such a way that a hybrid composite of cellulose and ZnO is provided, then it will bring a broad technological impact in many areas due to its unique characteristics brought from a combination of cellulose and ZnO.
We have successfully fabricated cellulose and ZnO hybrid nanocomposite (CEZOHN) by wet chemical method in which controlled hydrolysis of Zn(II)-amine complex leads to the formation of ZnO nanoparticles. ZnO nanorods are grown on regenerated cellulose films via seeding and hydrothermal method with varying deposition time. ZnO is seeded on the surface of the cellulose and ZnO nanorods are formed on the cellulose films. The nanorod layers are not exfoliated from the cellulose films. The obtained CEZOHN shows high piezoelectricity, which is very promising for sensor and actuator applications. Superior piezoelectric behavior of the cellulose-ZnO hybrid nanocomposite will allow a piezoelectric paper that can be used for strain sensors, implant speaker, energy harvester and haptic actuators.