Description of impactIn biology we find many remarkable materials that are specifically tailored to their function, displaying advanced functional properties that derive from a hierarchical organic inorganic hybrid structure. For example, nacre of seashells possesses a high toughness due to the alternating layers of calcium carbonate and organic material. In our bones, collagen templates the formation of calcium phosphate crystals resulting in excellent mechanical properties. By using mineralization strategies similar to those found in nature we aim to design hybrid materials with properties tailored to different technological applications. Currently we are investigating the formation of zinc oxide and magnetite 2D crystals using collagen as a template. Furthermore, the incorporation of silica into collagen is studied as a promising composite material for the development of biomedical devices for tissue engineering, as silicic acid has a stimulating effect on osteogenesis.
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