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SmallTalks [about Nanoscience] Revealing the nanoworld of trees

​​​​​​Welcome to a seminar in the series SmallTalks [about Nanoscience] arranged by the Area of Advance Nano​.

Speaker: Maria Brollo, Postdoc at the Department of Physics, Nano and Biophysics.

Coffee will be served before the start of the seminar.


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Title: Revealing the nanoworld of trees
Abstract: Wood is the most abundant biopolymer on Earth. Sweden is the world’s second largest exporter of paper, pulp and sawn wood products, giving the Swedish industries an important international position. Sweden is developing sustainable bio-based alternatives to today’s fossil-based materials since wood is renewable. One of the research projects into new technologies focused on wood is biofuel. By treating the wood with different processes, one can enhance its porosity, increasing its surface to area ratio. Increasing the porosity also means the increase of enzyme accessibility to the cellulosic component. Enzymes are important in wood decomposition because they act precisely on specific chemical bonds in the plant cell wall. These enzymes convert polysaccharides into fermentable sugars. Given the nanometric size of enzymes, around 4 nm, electron microscopy offers a unique capability for site specific imaging with high spatial resolution, which is the focus of this talk.
Different electron microscopy techniques can be used to investigate wood specimens. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) is used for surface evaluation on the porosity level after different wood treatments. Focused ion beam (FIB) combined with SEM reveal the internal microstructure of wood by cross-sections cuts. While transmission electron microscopy (TEM) addresses the nanostructure of wood composites besides the evaluation of enzymes.