NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
Honolulu, HI, United States, 2006/09/12 - The use of design concepts adapted from nature is a promising new route to the development of advanced materials, with biominerals providing an ample source of examples..
For instance, Nature’s ability to manipulate poor engineering materials such as calcium carbonate to produce skeletal materials with considerable fracture resistance is an ideal inspiration for this approach. Researchers in the UK now report a simple and general approach to single crystal growth, employing structured films of generic polymers to direct the growth of single crystals. By using straightforward patterning techniques they are able to access a large variety of patterns with a continuous range of length scales from the macroscopic to the nanometer level.
While a number of techniques have been used previously to pattern the gross morphology of calcite single crystals, including growth in lithographically created moulds, templates derived from biominerals or on colloidal particle monolayers, the method described by the scientists in the UK is significantly more flexible and general.
Dr. Sabine Ludwigs, who is currently holding a postdoc position in the Thin Films and Interfaces Group at the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory, explained these recent findings to Nanowerk: "We developed a straightforward route to patterning crystal growth. Structured polymer templates are employed as substrates to support calcite crystal growth, resulting in translation of the polymer film pattern into the crystal nucleation face."
The researchers demonstrated that these structured polymer films provide a versatile new route to patterning crystal growth and generating inorganic/organic hybrid materials. Accessing a wide variety of patterning techniques (top-down and bottom-up approaches) and matrix materials, use of structured films of generic polymers to direct the crystal growth provides a procedure that incorporates the organic phase into a growing single crystal and spans a wide range of pattern sizes and periodicities.
Read the full article on the Nanowerk website.
About Nanowerk: Nanowerk is a leading nanotechnology information portal. Apart from its unique Nanomaterial Database™, with over 1,300 products from 90 suppliers, it provides the most complete nanotech events calendar; hundreds of links to universities, labs, researchers, associations, networks and international initiatives involved in nanotechnology; daily news; downloadable reports; and much more. The site includes a daily “Spotlight” section featuring Nanowerk-exclusive reviews and summaries of cutting-edge nanotechnology research by guest authors and Nanowerk editors. Nanowerk also publishes the nanoRISK newsletter – a constructive contribution to the debate about the potential risks of nanotechnology.
By Michael Berger, Copyright 2006 Nanowerk LLC