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Langmuir. 2013 Nov 26;29(47):14361-8. doi: 10.1021/la402682r. Epub 2013 Nov 11.

Assembly of amorphous clusters under floating monolayers: a comparison of in situ and ex situ techniques.

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  • 1Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University , Evanston, Illinois 60208, United States.


We report synchrotron X-ray scattering studies of biomimetic crystallization of hydroxyapatite (the primary constituent of bone), using monolayers of fatty acid molecules floating on simulated body fluid (SBF) as well as aqueous solutions of calcium phosphate. A ∼10 Å thick film of amorphous material is observed to form immediately at the molecular monolayer, consistent with the proposed formation of "Posner clusters". This layer becomes denser but not significantly thicker as the subphase concentration and the temperature approach physiological conditions. The amorphous films do not crystallize within 24 h, in contrast to prior reports of more rapid crystallization using electron microscopy on ex situ samples. However, crystallization occurs almost immediately after our films are transferred onto solid substrates. These results illustrate the importance of in situ measurements for model biomineralization experiments.

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