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Department of Chemistry


I am a second year PhD student in the Dr S. Vignolini's group.

I have started my PhD with an interest in physical chemistry, more specifically colloids and their self-assembly.

Chitin nanocrystals (ChNCs) are a great example of such a system as chitin is cheap, abundant in nature and biodegradable and it behaves exactly as a colloid with some self-assembly properties.

ChNC have been already observed in 1959 by R. H. Marchessault [1], and further described and analysed by great researchers such as J.F-.Revol [2]. However, the understanding of the colloidal and self-assembly properties of the system is still rather limited. Therefore, during my PhD I aim at improving my own understanding of colloids, self-assembly and liquid crystals in general and shedding some light on the ChNCs properties, of which the most interesting one is the ability to form chiral nematic phases [3].


[1] Marchessault, R. H., F. F. Morehead, and N. M. Walter. "Liquid crystal systems from fibrillar polysaccharides." Nature184.4686 (1959): 632-633.

[2] Revol, J-F., and R. H. Marchessault. "In vitro chiral nematic ordering of chitin crystallites." International Journal of Biological Macromolecules 15.6 (1993): 329-335.

[3] Belamie, E., P. Davidson, and M. M. Giraud-Guille. "Structure and chirality of the nematic phase in α-chitin suspensions." The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 108.39 (2004): 14991-15000.


Controlling the self-assembly behavior of aqueous chitin nanocrystal suspensions
A Narkevicius, LM Steiner, RM Parker, Y Ogawa, B Frka-Petesic, S Vignolini
– Biomacromolecules
The Self-Assembly of Cellulose Nanocrystals: Hierarchical Design of Visual Appearance
RM Parker, G Guidetti, CA Williams, T Zhao, A Narkevicius, S Vignolini, B Frka-Petesic
– Adv Mater
Solid state NMR of isotope labelled murine fur: a powerful tool to study atomic level keratin structure and treatment effects.
WCV Wong, A Narkevicius, WY Chow, DG Reid, R Rajan, RA Brooks, M Green, MJ Duer
– J Biomol NMR

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