Fusion of Seashell Nacre and Marine Bioadhesive Analogs: High-Strength Nanocomposite by Layer-by-Layer Assembly of Clay and L-3,4-Dihydroxyphenylalanine Polymer


  • N.A.K. thanks AFOSR, NSF, DARPA, and NRL for the support of this research. P.P. thanks the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation for support of his work through a graduate fellowship. The authors acknowledge the staff of the Electron Microscopy Analysis Laboratory (University of Michigan) and their sponsor, the National Science Foundation (NSF) through grant #DMR-0320740. P.B.M. acknowledges support for this work from NIH (DE 14193) and NASA (URETI NCC-1-02037). Supporting Information is available online from Wiley InterScience or from the author.


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A novel nanostructured composite film (see figure) that takes advantage of two different natural materials—layered nacre and the marine adhesive of mussels—is prepared. L-3,4-Dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) molecules impart unusual adhesive strength to the clay composite and the hardening mechanism found in the natural “cement” plays an equally important role in the strengthening of the “nanostructured nacre”.