Microscopic structure of the polymer-induced liquid precursor for calcium carbonate

Yifei Xu, Koen C.H. Tijssen, Paul H.H. Bomans, Anat Akiva, Heiner Friedrich, Arno P.M. Kentgens, Nico A.J.M. Sommerdijk

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Many biomineral crystals form complex non-equilibrium shapes, often via transient amorphous precursors. Also in vitro crystals can be grown with non-equilibrium morphologies, such as thin films or nanorods. In many cases this involves charged polymeric additives that form a polymer-induced liquid precursor (PILP). Here, we investigate the CaCO3 based PILP process with a variety of techniques including cryoTEM and NMR. The initial products are 30-50 nm amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC) nanoparticles with ~2 nm nanoparticulate texture. We show the polymers strongly interact with ACC in the early stages, and become excluded during crystallization, with no liquid-liquid phase separation detected during the process. Our results suggest that "PILP" is actually a polymer-driven assembly of ACC clusters, and that its liquid-like behavior at the macroscopic level is due to the small size and surface properties of the assemblies. We propose that a similar biopolymer-stabilized nanogranular phase may be active in biomineralization.

Originele taal-2Engels
TijdschriftNature Communications
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
StatusGepubliceerd - 1 dec 2018

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    Xu, Y., Tijssen, K. C. H., Bomans, P. H. H., Akiva, A., Friedrich, H., Kentgens, A. P. M., & Sommerdijk, N. A. J. M. (2018). Microscopic structure of the polymer-induced liquid precursor for calcium carbonate. Nature Communications, 9(1), [2582]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-05006-w