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Calcite Crystal Growth by a Solid-State Transformation of Stabilized Amorphous Calcium Carbonate Nanospheres in a Hydrogel


  • We thank Dr. Eugenia Klein for her help with the ESEM experiments, and Dr. Stefan Siegel and Dr. Chenghao Li for their help with the diffraction experiments. X-ray diffraction studies were conducted at the μ-Spot beamline of the BESSY II Synchrotron Radiation Facility, which is part of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie. The research was supported by a German Research Foundation grant within the framework of the Deutsch–Israelische Projektkooperation DIP. L.A. is the incumbent of the Dorothy and Patrick Gorman Professorial Chair of Biological Ultrastructure, and S.W. of the Dr. Trude Burchardt Professorial Chair of Structural Biology.


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An ugly duckling grows into a swan: Many organisms grow their crystalline mineral phases through the secondary nucleation of nanospheres made of an amorphous precursor phase. Stable amorphous calcium carbonate biominerals were used to induce a similar transformation in vitro. The amorphous nanospheres underwent a solid-phase transformation that resulted in highly ordered calcite crystals composed of aggregated particles (see SEM image).

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