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Langmuir. 2006 Jul 4;22(14):6125-9.

Double hydrophilic block copolymer controlled growth and self-assembly of CaCO3 multilayered structures at the air/water interface.

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  • 1Division of Nanomaterials and Chemistry, Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale, The School of Chemistry & Materials, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui 230026, People's Republic of China.


Double hydrophilic block copolymers PEG-b-PEI-linear with different PEI block lengths have been examined for CaCO3 mineralization at the air/water interface. The results demonstrated that either PEI length or the solution acidity had a significant influence on the morphogenesis of vaterite crystals at the air/water interface. A possible mechanism for the stratification of CaCO3 vaterite crystals has been proposed. Increasing either PEI length or the initial pH value of the solution will decrease the density of the PEG block anchored on the binding interface and result in exposing more space as binding interface to solution and favoring the subnucleation and stratification growth on the polymer-CaCO3 interface. In contrast, higher density of PEG blocks will stabilize the growing crystals more efficiently and inhibit subnucleation on the polymer-CaCO3 interface, and thus prevent the formation of stratified structures. This study provides an example that it is possible to access morphogenesis of calcium carbonate structures by a combination of a block copolymer with the air/water interface.

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