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Keywords:

  • biomineralization;
  • hydrogels;
  • crystallization;
  • calcium carbonate
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

As reported by Lara A. Estroff and co-workers on page 2891, the porous networks formed by hydrogel matrices (freeze-dried silica gel in the background) provide a versatile medium for crystal growth of a wide range of calcium carbonate structures. Shown from top to bottom are single-crystal equilibrium morphologies, non-equilibrium “hopper crystals”, polycrystalline aggregates, and spherulites. In addition, the crystalline products can incorporate the hydrogel matrix forming crystalline composites.