Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems

Biobased Colloids and Materials (BiCMat)

BiCMat group led by Prof. Orlando Rojas works toward supporting global sustainable development through research on the fundamental and utilization aspects of renewable resources, including lignocellulose, proteins and other biopolymers. Our research aims to discover competitive alternatives for fossil materials.
CHEM_Bio_Bicmat

The BiCMat group is based in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems and we are an active member of the broader Materials Platform at Aalto University. Our research group consists of scholars at various stages of their careers, from MSc. students to Post-doc researchers. In addition, we continually host visiting scholars from other academic/research institutions around the world.

BiCMat Activity Summary 2019
BiCMat Activity Summary 2018

Our research focus:

Our research focus is on finding competitive alternatives to fossil materials through research into bio-based materials at different size scales, mainly those displaying large interfacial areas such as fibers (micro/nano fibers), fiber networks, particles and colloidal systems. We are interested in:

 

Ligno-nanocellulose and bacterial cellulose:

We utilize novel cellulosic materials from various sources to develop high value-added applications.

Multiphase systems:

We study the fundamental and utilization aspects of multiphase systems, such as dispersions, emulsions, foams, membranes and gels.

Multiphase systems have a large variety of functionalities in the application of textile products, light-weight materials, water treatment, encapsulations, etc. Current environmental concerns have prompted an increasing demand for bio-material-based multiphase systems, such as foams, emulsions, aerogels. Our research interests involves revolving the colloidal-related mechanisms in fiber-based foams for papermaking. Also, we explore the roles and capabilities of (ligno-)cellulosic materials (e.g. (lingo-)cellulosic fibers, (lingo-)nano-cellulose, etc.) in a multiphase system.

Films, filaments and hybrid materials:

We employ the versatility of lignonanocellulose and cellulose derivatives in novel film, paper and filament structures in combination with other nano- and functional materials.

Bionanomaterials are often thought to be difficult to process and limited in functionality. To enable feasible processing, we work on paper, film and filament structures which can conveniently fit into existing industrial processes. Furthermore, we see papers, films and filaments as useful model structures for demonstrating novel functionalizations.

Even though biomaterials can natively have a limited functionality, they typically have a promising chemical versatility. We employ this versatility for new purposes, such as water-resistant, thermoformable, electrically conductive, luminescent or antibacterial cellulose. With this work, we target applications that will be important for tomorrow’s society, such as composite materials, packaging, energy harvesting and rapid diagnostics.

Lignin:

We search for new, more valuable application areas for lignin, for example nanoparticles or coatings.

Lignin is the second most abundant natural raw material and nature’s most abundant aromatic polymer, which can be found in plants. Lignin is generally obtained from black liquor as a waste from pulp industry in large quantities. Although much of the lignin produced by pulp industry is currently consumed as a fuel, there are other, higher value added applications, such as carbon material precursor, emulsifier, coating, filler or substitute for metal/inorganic nanoparticles. We study these new areas for lignin utilization, envisioning lignin’s transition from waste into a valuable raw material.

Proteins:

We research the interactions between proteins and polysaccharides and thus develop materials combining these components.

Proteins, natural and renewable biomolecules, perform a vast number of functions that show great potential in various challenging applications. We study the functional properties of proteins in molecular and surface interactions, crosslinking, foaming, adsorption and separation processes. Specific areas of interest include the interactions between proteins and polysaccharides and materials combining these components. Through this work, we are aiming to improve the formability of cellulose-based materials, create antibiofouling surfaces and other functional biointerfaces relevant to the medical, biotechnological and food fields.

Bioactive cellulose:

We capitalize on the biocompatibility of cellulose in medical applications through modifications with antibodies, enzymes and other bioactive molecules.

We have introduced conjugation of short peptides to nanocelluloses for low cost and disposable sensors as well as supports for detection or separation of bioactive molecules. We aim at developing sustainable bioactive materials that can be safely disposed or regenerated. Specific topics that have been developed in our group include

  • immunoglobulin G binding and detection
  • heparin, Avidin-Biotin and other complexes
  • affibodies and C-reactive proteins
  • role of ligand spacer on passivation, binding, kinetics, and mass transfer
  • rapid immunoassays and diagnostics
3d rendering of bioactive (nano)cellulose.

We work closely with:

FinnCERES

FinnCERES is a flagship for our sustainable future, center for the materials bioeconomy.

The HYBER Centre

The HYBER Centre was launched via the Academy of Finland's Centre of Excellence Programme 2014-2019, as the CoE in Molecular Engineering of Biosynthetic Hybrid Materials Research. HYBER combines research groups working on molecular self-assembly, genetic engineering of proteins, biotechnological production of engineered biomolecules, and plant cell wall materials.

Aalto University/HYBER

Aalto Materials Platform

We promote cross-disciplinary collaborations and communication to advance the field of materials science and its applications.

Metals_photo Eeva Suorlahti fir Materials Platform
A photo demostrating the use of cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) for structural color on a piece of fabric.

Honors and awards

ERC Advanced Grant recipient

2018 Anselme Payen Award, the highest recognition in the area of cellulose and renewable materials

BiCMat is a part of Academy of Finland's Centre of Excellence in Molecular Engineering of Biosynthetic Hybrid Materials (HYBER, 2014-2019)

In 2015, Orlando Rojas received TAPPI Nanotechnology Division Technical Award and IMERYS Prize

 

Prof. Orlando Rojas

Through our research we find competitive uses of renewable biological resources.

Prof. Orlando Rojas, head of the research group

BiCMat members

Here you will find the individuals who are part of the Biobased Colloids and Materials (BiCMat) research group.

Read more
A quirky group photo of BiCMat members taken by Dragon Flower Photo Studio

Related content:

Research group related news:

Scientists use bacteria as micro-3D printers

Technique creates highly customised structures that could be used in regenerative medicine

With the right guidance, certain bacteria can produce 3D objects made of nanocellulose

Parallel paths: Designer and materials scientist conjure up glimmering colours out of wood

Designer Noora Yau and materials scientist Konrad Klockars have used wood to conjure up a colour, which is transparent yet glows like a copepod in shallow water. The pair’s good chemistry and open attitude towards asking silly questions is a great help in their work.

Tohtorikoulutettavat Noora Yau ja Konrad Klockars seisovat vierekkäin valkoista taustaa vasten. Heidän välissään on pystysuora puinen levy, joka on pohjaväriltään musta, mutta pinnassa on kirkkaita sinisiä ja keltaisia kuvioita. Kuva: Jaakko Kahilaniemi.

Precision solutions for healthcare

Biodesign Finland projects utilise biomaterials to repair tissue damage and support the recuperation of mental health patients with environmental design. Identifying needs correctly forms the point of departure for all this.

Biodesign, kuva: Kalle Kataila

Hollywood costume design goes sustainable

A textile artist sees natural materials as the future for costumes in television and film.

Urs Dieker working with wood, kuva Eren Öztekin

Material manufacturing from particles takes a giant step forward

Tiny fibrils extracted from plants have been getting a lot of attention for their strength. These nanomaterials have shown great promise in outperforming plastics, and even replacing them. A team led by Aalto University has now shown another remarkable property of nanocelluloses: their strong binding properties to form new materials with any particle.

nanoselluloosaverkko

Crab-shell and seaweed compounds spin into yarns for sustainable and functional materials

Biobased fibres are made from two renewable marine resources and with promise in advanced applications, in wovens and medical materials, among others. The threads draw strength from the crab chitin component and flexibility from seaweed alginate.

Ravunkuorista ja merilevästä tehtyä lankaa

Wood-based yarn captures hormones from wastewater

Hormones and other pharmaceuticals ending up in bodies from natural waters are a globally significant environmental problem.

Puupohjainen lanka

Research group related events:

FinnCERES: Will the Bio-Bubble Burst?

Will new EU guidelines and directives on microplastics and single-use plastics threaten the future of new bio-based materials? What is the general atmosphere in EU countries on the use of forest biomass? Join the FinnCERES event to learn more!

Illustration of hand holding a pin on a bubble labeled bio

Capturing microplastics and pharmaceuticals from waste water

Hormones and other pharmaceuticals ending up in bodies from natural waters are a globally significant environmental problem.

Nanocellulose yarn that captures hormones from waste water. Photo: FINNCERES

Shimmering Wood by Structural Colour Studio

Nature’s brightest colours – like those found in peacock feathers or butterfly wings – are created through microscopically small nanostructures.

Wood-based structural shimmering wood colour has no colour pigments. Photo: Valeria Azovskaya

Solar energy through ChemisTree

Is it possible to use trees in electricity production? Surprisingly, yes, it is! Transparent cellulose films enable greater efficiency of solar cells through their haze effect.

Solar Energy Through ChemisTree Photo: Glen Forde

Naturally Dramatic

Sustainable costume design is still in its early days. Despite efforts to move to 'greener' processes, stage and film productions still make costumes in traditional ways with little regard for their impact on the environment or employees.

Colourful costume made with sustainable, natural materials by Urs Dierker
BiCMat Publications

Latest publications:

Transparent films by ionic liquid welding of cellulose nanofibers and polylactide

Xun Niu, Siqi Huan, Haiming Li, Hui Pan, Orlando J. Rojas 2021 JOURNAL OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

Relationship between structural characteristics of cellulose nanocrystals obtained from kraft pulp

María Graciela Aguayo, Arturo Fernández-Pérez, Claudia Oviedo, Guillermo Reyes, Pablo Reyes-Contreras 2020 Nanomaterials

Multifunctional 3D-Printed Patches for Long-Term Drug Release Therapies after Myocardial Infarction

Rubina Ajdary, Nazanin Zanjanizadeh Ezazi, Alexandra Correia, Marianna Kemell, Siqi Huan, Heikki J. Ruskoaho, Jouni Hirvonen, Hélder A. Santos, Orlando J. Rojas 2020 Advanced Functional Materials

Plant Nanomaterials and Inspiration from Nature : Water Interactions and Hierarchically Structured Hydrogels

Rubina Ajdary, Blaise L. Tardy, Bruno D. Mattos, Long Bai, Orlando J. Rojas 2020 Advanced Materials

All-Aqueous Liquid Crystal Nanocellulose Emulsions with Permeable Interfacial Assembly

Long Bai, Siqi Huan, Bin Zhao, Ya Zhu, Jordi Esquena, Feng Chen, Guang Gao, Eyal Zussman, Guang Chu, Orlando J. Rojas 2020 ACS Nano

Chirality from Cryo-Electron Tomograms of Nanocrystals Obtained by Lateral Disassembly and Surface Etching of Never-Dried Chitin

Long Bai, Tero Kämäräinen, Wenchao Xiang, Johanna Majoinen, Jani Seitsonen, Rafael Grande, Siqi Huan, Liang Liu, Yimin Fan, Orlando J. Rojas 2020 ACS Nano

Vapor-Liquid Equilibrium of Ionic Liquid 7-Methyl-1,5,7-triazabicyclo[4.4.0]dec-5-enium Acetate and Its Mixtures with Water

Zachariah Steven Baird, Petri Uusi-Kyyny, Joanna Witos, Antti H. Rantamäki, Herbert Sixta, Susanne K. Wiedmer, Ville Alopaeus 2020 Journal of Chemical and Engineering Data

Spruce milled wood lignin : Linear, branched or cross-linked?

Mikhail Balakshin, Ewellyn Augsten Capanema, Xuhai Zhu, Irina Sulaeva, Antje Potthast, Thomas Rosenau, Orlando J. Rojas 2020 Green Chemistry

Production of sustainable polymeric composites using grape pomace biomass

Camila Berger, Bruno D. Mattos, Sandro C. Amico, Jorge Antonio de Farias, Rodrigo Coldebella, Darci A. Gatto, André L. Missio 2020 Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery

Morphological and Wettability Properties of Thin Coating Films Produced from Technical Lignins

Marc Borrega, Sonja Päärnilä, Luiz G. Greca, Anna Stiina Jääskeläinen, Taina Ohra-Aho, Orlando J. Rojas, Tarja Tamminen 2020 Langmuir
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database

Find us at:

Vuorimiehentie 1

Aalto Bioproduct Centre

Vuorimiehentie 1

School Latest News:

New Cotton Project
Research & Art Published:

Going beyond cotton

Aalto University part of a consortium that harnesses collaboration and cutting-edge technology to create circular fashion.
Ioncell-kuituja kierrätysmateriaalista
Research & Art Published:

Fibre made from recycled cloth towels and hemp stronger than cotton

The tensile strength of fibres created with the Ioncell method is up to 2.5 times more than that of cotton, while an Ioncell knitted fabric made from recycled hemp withstands abrasion for twice as long as normal hemp fabric.
Aikalava
Press releases Published:

Building European cities with wood would sequester and store half of cement industry’s current carbon emissions

Model shows that slowly increasing the use of wood in European construction could increase the carbon storage of buildings by 420 million CO2 tons over the next 20 years
Taloustieteilijät ehdottavat: Näin Suomi puolittaa tieliikenteen päästöt vuoteen 2030 mennessä
Research & Art Published:

Distribution rights system will raise fuel prices - compensation for people with low income will only require a fraction of the revenue from system

Economists developed possible compensation models based on extensive person and vehicle data. The report was published at a Ministry of Transport and Communications webinar on 27 October.

Events:

Graphic image in green and black, written 'Art of Research 2020. Authorship and Responsibility', round green elements around
Conferences and workshops

VII Art of Research Conference - Authorship and Responsibility

The seventh Art of Research conference will be held on 3-4 December 2020 at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Helsinki, Finland.
Dissertations

Defence of dissertation in the field of Physical Chemistry, M.Sc (tech.) Taina Rauhala

The title of the dissertation is: Electrochemical Studies on Degradation Mechanisms of Electrode Materials in Lithium-Ion Batteries
Dissertations

Defence of dissertation in the field of engineering physics, M.Sc. Roope Kokkoniemi

Control and detection of microwave photons with superconducting Josephson junctions
Dissertations
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