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Science. 1993 Sep 3;261(5126):1286-92.

Crystallization at Inorganic-organic Interfaces: Biominerals and Biomimetic Synthesis.


Crystallization is an important process in a wide range of scientific disciplines including chemistry, physics, biology, geology, and materials science. Recent investigations of biomineralization indicate that specific molecular interactions at inorganic-organic interfaces can result in the controlled nucleation and growth of inorganic crystals. Synthetic systems have highlighted the importance of electrostatic binding or association, geometric matching (epitaxis), and stereochemical correspondence in these recognition processes. Similarly, organic molecules in solution can influence the morphology of inorganic crystals if there is molecular complementarity at the crystal-additive interface. A biomimetic approach based on these principles could lead to the development of new strategies in the controlled synthesis of inorganic nanophases, the crystal engineering of bulk solids, and the assembly of organized composite and ceramic materials.

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