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The Hierarchical Architecture of Nacre and Its Mimetic Material


  • This work was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (No. 15560587) and the 21st Century COE program “KEIO Life Conjugated Chemistry” from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, Japan. We thank Mikimoto Pearl Museum for kindly providing nacre samples. Y. O. is grateful for a JSPS research fellowship for young scientists.


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Mother-of-pearl has a three-level nanoscopic-to-macroscopic hierarchical architecture, which provides storage for organic molecules at the nanoscale. A material that mimics the hierarchical architecture and nanostorage properties of nacre emerges from the simple crystallization of potassium sulfate and poly(acrylic acid) (see picture).