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Bio-inspired Photonics

Lisa Steiner

I'm studying the fruit of Margaritaria nobilis, which exhibits a beautiful iridescent appearance caused by the helicoidal arrangement of cellulose fibres in the secondary cell wall of the endocarp. This helicoidal arrangement gives rise to structural colour, colour that is caused by features at the nanoscale rather than pigments. I try to understand how the properties of the cellulose fibres affect the architecture of the cell wall and what other compounds are involved in the arrangement. I isolate cellulose by a sequence of chemical purifications, monitored via ssNMR and FT-IR, and then characterise the obtained cellulose fibres via AFM and TEM. Furthermore, I'm also interested in the other compounds in the plant cell wall, mainly xylan, and how they interact with the cellulose and influence its arrangement.


I did my Bachelor in Chemistry and my Master in Chemical Engineering at Graz University of Technology, Austria, including a semester abroad at University of Minho, Portugal, and two summer schools, at Syracuse University, US and Rutgers University, US.





Controlling the Self-Assembly Behavior of Aqueous Chitin Nanocrystal Suspensions
A Narkevicius, LM Steiner, RM Parker, Y Ogawa, B Frka-Petesic, S Vignolini
– Biomacromolecules
Structural colours in the frond of Microsorum thailandicum.
LM Steiner, Y Ogawa, VE Johansen, CR Lundquist, H Whitney, S Vignolini
– Interface focus
Photonics in Nature: From Order to Disorder
VE Johansen, OD Onelli, LM Steiner, S Vignolini
Oxorhenium(V) Complexes with Pyrazole Based Aryloxide Ligands and Application in Olefin Epoxidation
P Traar, JA Schachner, L Steiner, A Sachse, M Volpe, NC Mösch-Zanetti
– Inorganic Chemistry


Telephone number

01223 336410 (shared)

Email address

Research Interests