Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) are of great interest in many areas of science, and in most cases are applied due to their localised surface plasmon resonance (LSPR). LSPR endows the AuNPs with fascinating optical properties, which can be precisely engineered by manipulating size and shape of the AuNPs. Therefore, the colours of AuNPs can cover a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum of light.
AuNPs have a long history as non-fading colourants. More recently, Professor J. H. Johnston –my PhD supervisor at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand – and his partners have developed two propriety approaches for dyeing merino wool with AuNPs. The fundamental mechanisms of one of these approaches have not been fully understood yet and challenges remained.
In this talk I focus on identifying and elucidating the fundamental mechanisms that govern the formation of AuNP–wool composites using colloidal AuNPs of various colours and wool fibres, and how to use this knowledge for developing synthetic methods to extend the colour range of AuNPs for the composites. As a result, the formation mechanisms of AuNP–wool composites are now better understood and key challenges are resolved.