On November 9th, Associate Professor Jiang Yuan of the School of Materials Science and Technology of our university cooperated with Prof. Tang Ruikang of Zhejiang University and Prof. Helmut Cölfen of Konstanz University in Germany. In the international academic journal Nature Communications, he published the title “Total Morphosynthesis of Biomimetic Prismatic-Type”. In the research paper of CaCO3 Thin Films, the calcium carbonate film of the imitation shellfish prism layer structure was obtained by the full synthesis method for the first time, and precise control of the micro-structure of the biomimetic film was realized, thereby obtaining excellent mechanical properties.

Compared with natural or synthetic minerals, biominerals often exhibit excellent mechanical and other properties. The reason is that biominerals have a multi-ordered order micro-nano structure with a specific morphology, and such micro/nano structures also have structural consistency at the macroscopic scale. The acquisition of multi-ordered ordered mineral structures depends on the synergistic effect of various biomass macromolecules in the biomineralization process. Clearly this synergy can better guide material chemists to control the preparation of composites to obtain superior mechanical and other properties. However, the biomineralization process is difficult to observe in situ, and the static biomineral microstructure analysis provides relatively limited information. Therefore, controlled biomimetic mineralization is still a major problem in the field of material synthesis. So far, the research of biomimetic mineralization is mostly based on empirical understanding, and the research of biomimetic mineralization based on controllable route design is very few.

The research team based on the spatial heterogeneity of biominerals, and referenced the liquid phase epitaxy method in the synthesis of traditional crystalline thin film materials, designed a multi-step bionic mineralization route for the first time, and successfully constructed a multi-step biomimetic mineralization route under normal temperature liquid phase conditions. Using a polyelectrolyte-stabilized mineral seed layer, a prismatic layer structure of calcium carbonate was constructed based on the epitaxial mineralization method. The prism layer films prepared in this study not only have a high degree of similarity in microstructure with the corresponding biominerals, but also have similar hardness and Young's modulus (Fig. ac). The multi-step mineralization route based on seed layer epitaxy proposed in the paper is a universal method to obtain the bionic structure of the prismatic layer, and it also deepens people's understanding of the biomineralization mechanism.

Biomimetic mineralization must realize the precise synthesis of thin-film materials with specific micro/nano structure in the reaction environment of normal temperature and water phase. It is inseparable from the participation and regulation of various soft substances from multiple molecular dimensions to macroscopic scale. Therefore, understanding the synergistic effect of various soft substances in the process of material synthesis is the key to material chemistry further developing the means of green synthesis at room temperature, and it is also the only way to obtain structures and functional materials with excellent performance.

This work is based on the undergraduate thesis directed by Associate Professor Jiang Yuan at the School of Materials, and completed through inter-school and international cooperation. The first author of the dissertation was Xiao Chuanlian, a student of the Material University's 2010 undergraduate student (currently a master's student in Prof. Joachim Maier's Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State in Germany) and Li Ming, a 2012 undergraduate student in the School of Materials (now Xiamen University’s School of Materials Science). The graduate student of 2016 grade) and the 2013 undergraduate Wang Bingjun (now PhD candidate of Donal Bradley's School of Physics, Department of Physics, Oxford University, UK) participated in this work. Prof. Lu Yong of Material Science Institute used the theoretical simulation to verify the growth mechanism of the thin film. Prof. Li Xiang and Prof. Xu Binbin of the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering participated in the transmission electron microscope testing and analysis. Associate Professor Zhan Da used Raman microscopy to perform the biomimetic film. Test and analysis. The research platform is the Institute of Biomimicry and Soft Materials chaired by Prof. Liu Xiangyang, an expert of the “1000-member program” of the Central Organization Department.

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