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The Nucleation Mechanism of Fluorapatite–Collagen Composites: Ion Association and Motif Control by Collagen Proteins


  • The authors wish to thank Ulrich Schwarz for fruitful discussions. The DFG is gratefully acknowledged for financial support. High-performance computer resources were provided by the ZIH Dresden, and the MOLCAD package was used for molecular visualization.


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Apatite for the structure: Nucleation mechanisms of apatite–collagen composites at the atomistic level of detail have been investigated. Peculiar motifs of the apatite crystal structure were identified in which formation is promoted by ion association to the biomolecule. Apart from acting as a nucleation seed for ionic ordering, collagen triple helices (see picture; red bands) also induce orientation control in these motifs.

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