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Hydroxyl-rich macromolecules enable the bio-inspired synthesis of single crystal nanocomposites

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-13422-9 DOI Help

Authors: Yi-Yeoun Kim (University of Leeds) , Robert Darkins (University College London) , Alexander Broad (University College London) , Alexander N. Kulak (University of Leeds) , Mark A. Holden (University of Leeds) , Ouassef Nahi (University of Leeds) , Steven P. Armes (University of Sheffield) , Chiu C. Tang (Diamond Light Source) , Rebecca F. Thompson (University of Leeds) , Frederic Marin (UMR CNRS 6282 Biogeosciences, Université de Bourgogne–Franche-Comté) , Dorothy M. Duffy (University College London) , Fiona C. Meldrum (University of Leeds)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Nature Communications , VOL 10

State: Published (Approved)
Published: December 2019

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: Acidic macromolecules are traditionally considered key to calcium carbonate biomineralisation and have long been first choice in the bio-inspired synthesis of crystalline materials. Here, we challenge this view and demonstrate that low-charge macromolecules can vastly outperform their acidic counterparts in the synthesis of nanocomposites. Using gold nanoparticles functionalised with low charge, hydroxyl-rich proteins and homopolymers as growth additives, we show that extremely high concentrations of nanoparticles can be incorporated within calcite single crystals, while maintaining the continuity of the lattice and the original rhombohedral morphologies of the crystals. The nanoparticles are perfectly dispersed within the host crystal and at high concentrations are so closely apposed that they exhibit plasmon coupling and induce an unexpected contraction of the crystal lattice. The versatility of this strategy is then demonstrated by extension to alternative host crystals. This simple and scalable occlusion approach opens the door to a novel class of single crystal nanocomposites.

Journal Keywords: Bioinspired materials; Biomineralization; Composites

Subject Areas: Biology and Bio-materials, Chemistry

Instruments: I11-High Resolution Powder Diffraction

Added On: 17/12/2019 09:09

Discipline Tags:

Life Sciences & Biotech Materials Science Biomaterials Composite Materials Chemistry Biochemistry

Technical Tags:

Diffraction X-ray Powder Diffraction