Chapter 12. Template Surfaces for the Formation of Calcium Carbonate

  1. Prof. Dr. Edmund Bäuerlein
  1. Wolfgang Tremel,
  2. Jörg Küther,
  3. Mathias Balz,
  4. Niklas Loges and
  5. Stephan E. Wolf

Published Online: 20 MAR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9783527619443.ch36

Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation

Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation

How to Cite

Tremel, W., Küther, J., Balz, M., Loges, N. and Wolf, S. E. (2007) Template Surfaces for the Formation of Calcium Carbonate, in Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation (ed E. Bäuerlein), Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH, Weinheim, Germany. doi: 10.1002/9783527619443.ch36

Editor Information

  1. Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry, Department of Membrane Biochemistry, Am Klopferspitz 18 A, 82152 Planegg, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 MAR 2008
  2. Published Print: 25 MAY 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9783527316410

Online ISBN: 9783527619443



  • calcium carbonate;
  • self assembled monolayers;
  • langmuir mono-layers;
  • template-induced crystallization


Calcium carbonate (CaCO3), one of the most abundant biominerals on Earth, exists in three main crystalline polymorphs: aragonite, calcite, and vaterite. These polymorphs have a wide range of naturally occurring crystal habits, and they are often found assembled into hierarchical structures that result in a variety of intriguing properties in organisms. As the process of biomineral formation (which involves additives such as amphiphiles, proteins, nucleic acids, a structure directing insoluble matrix, and the action of specialized cells) is too complex to be understood at the molecular level, one must resort to simplified models which allow an understanding of certain key factors of the biomineralization process. Two such models — Langmuir monolayers and self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) — are reviewed in this chapter. Mineral formation at organic surfaces in natural systems is affected by physical, chemical, and molecular interactions, and molecular interactions at the organic aqueous interface, which can be controlled with molecular precision in Langmuir layers and SAMs. Phase selection and crystal orientation (i.e., the nucleating plane) of the growing crystal are determined by: (i) surface polarity; (ii) surface ordering/roughness; (iii) surface geometry/symmetry; and (iv) head group orientation due to even or odd chains. The concepts of template-induced crystallization on SAMs, and the use of polymer additives, can finally be combined to a new strategy where, through the cooperative interaction of a matrix involved in the nucleation process, an additive in solution and the dissolved ions, hierarchically ordered mineral structures are formed.