April 09, 2009

Images of Bone, Tooth, and Shell Formation

Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology (The Netherlands) have made high-resolution images of the earliest stages of bone formation. By means of an electron microscope they made three-dimensional images of the nanoparticles that are at the heart of the process. The researchers imaged small clusters with a cross section of 0.7 nm in a solution of calcium carbonate and showed that these clusters, each consisting of only about ten ions, are the beginning of the growth process through which the crystalline biomineral is ultimately formed. To do this they used the very high resolution of a special electron microscope, which enabled them to make three-dimensional images of very rapidly frozen samples. These showed how the clusters in the solution nucleate into larger, unstructured nanoparticles with an average diameter of around 30 nm. The results provide improved understanding of bone, tooth, and shell formation. For further information, please visit: w3.tue.nl/en/

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