Morphology control and molecular templates in biomineralization
2016, Rao, Ashit, Cölfen, Helmut
Several materials in the biological world incorporate structural complexities such as intricate morphology, hierarchical organization as well as sophisticated organic–inorganic interfaces that lead to the subsequent emergence of superior physical properties. Such materials are designed by Nature for specialized functions. On an evolutionary timescale, organisms producing these biomaterials can have certain survival advantages against hostile growth conditions and predation (Kunkel et al., 2012). Moreover, considering the vastness of biological diversity and the presence of life at different conditions of temperature and pressure, the diverse physical properties as well as the mechanisms underlying the formation of these materials are evolutionarily optimized by Nature. Therefore elucidating the mechanisms of formation and structural details of biomaterials as well as their role in the emergence of physical properties is highly relevant (, , , , and ). This book chapter introduces a class of biomaterials, i.e., biominerals, and their fascinating architectures. Furthermore, the growth mechanisms and complex morphologies of biominerals are addressed in light of recent developments in the understanding of crystal nucleation and growth.