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-FROM MODEL BIO-MINERAL FORMATION TOWARD BIOGENIC PROCESSES
Biomineralizing organisms are superior in controlling mineral growth. The controls they use are deceptively simple (e.g. ions, polymers, electrons), however, when we seek to mimic such interactions e.g. for bio inspired approaches to materials design and synthesis, we are hindered by the lack of knowledge about the underlying molecular-scale mechanisms these polymer-mineral interactions rely upon. I am particularly interested in obtaining quantitative insight into the underlying mechanistic parameters that essentially control the polymer-mineral interactions.
The production of polymers for controlling calcite growth is a well-known approach in biomineralising organisms. Numerous studies have shown that polymers significantly influenced the growth rate and morphology of CaCO3 but little is known about how the polymers are actually controlled by the organisms. I have made a series of studies showing that an ancient polysaccharide (PS) extracted from 60 Ma chalk still inhibit calcite growth, modeled its complexation strength and that cations can control the effect of the ancient polysaccharides confirming that these processes have been in place for at least 60 million years.
Quantifying cation functionality
Imaging PS and calcite
Imaging cation functionality
Templated calcite growth
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