Bioinspired Materials - Formation Mechanisms and Interactions
Prosperity of modern society at large extent relies on the design of new and advanced materials. Many classes of organic, inorganic or hybrid materials are produced by process of precipitation (crystallization) in which the size, morphology, chemical and structural composition could be tuned by the strict control of formation conditions. Process by which living organisms produce hard tissues is known as biomineralization and such tissues are, actually, the organic-inorganic composites. In comparison to their geological analogues, biominerals have the superior mechanical and chemical properties that are a consequence of just a minor presence of extracellular matrix proteins or polysaccharides, as well as of the specific confined environment in which the process occur. In addition, such materials are produced from aqueous systems, chemically neutral precursors, at low temperature and pressure, thus inspiring the scientists investigating the biomimetic syntheses routes for design of functional materials for advanced application. In order to contribute to the understanding of basic interactions between the mineral phases and complex macromolecules, underlying biomineralization, we propose the investigations in which the representative inorganic salts (calcium carbonates & phosphates) will be precipitated in a presence of simple and representative organic molecules (acidic and hydrogen bonding amino acids and custom-designed small peptides) while the complexity of systems will be systematic increased by confining the precipitation in polysaccharide hydrogel or synthetic vesicular microenvironment. Particular attention will be paid on a role of the amorphous and other precursor phases on formation of stable modifications relevant for biomineralization. Besides the precipitation kinetic analyses, the advanced characterization techniques (HR-TEM, EPR, confocal microscopy) will be applied in order to reveal the mechanisms of organic molecules – mineral surface interactions.