R&D Breakthroughs in Biomaterials, Packaging and Media

"We have good experiences working with VTT from idea generation to technology upscaling." Ari Kiviranta, Research Director, Metsä Board


Optical fibre made of cellulose

VTT researchers were able to transmit light in wood-based fibre. Optical fibre made of cellulose is best suited for sensors that benefit from the biodegradability of the material. In the future, optical cellulose fibre may allow detecting changes in the moisture level of buildings.

Cellulose has properties making it suited for use in optical fibre sensors: The material used in cellulose fibres can in itself react with the substances being measured and absorb them, which is difficult for glass or plastic fibres. Cellulose is also easy to modify as regards, for instance, the index of refraction. Cellulose effectively absorbs and releases water, which can be measured by the change in the attenuation of light transmitted in the fibre. In addition, cellulose is biodegradable, and the fibre used for the sensor can be disposed of with biowaste.

Cellulose-based fibre opens up new opportunities for sensor applications, but it will not compete with glass-based optical fibres in telecommunications applications.

The development of the optical fibre began in VTT's iBex programme, which allows the researchers involved to implement fascinating solutions to global challenges. Currently, the R&D continues in the FinnCERES flagship programme in collaboration with VTT and Aalto University.

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