In recent years, the prevalence of hydrogel-like organic matrices in biomineralization has gained attention as a route to synthesizing a diverse range of crystalline structures. Here, examples of hydrogels in biological, as well as synthetic, bio-inspired systems are discussed. Particular attention is given to understanding the physical versus chemical effects of a broad range of hydrogel matrices and their role in directing polymorph selectivity and morphological control in the calcium carbonate system. Finally, recent data regarding hydrogel-matrix incorporation into the growing crystals is discussed and a mechanism for the formation of these single-crystal composite materials is presented.
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