Nanoparticle and nanocluster precursors may play a major role in biomineralization. The small differences in enthalpy and free energy among metastable nanoscale phases offer controlled thermodynamic and mechanistic pathways. Clusters and nanoparticles offer concentration and controlled transport of reactants. Control of polymorphism, surface energy, and surface charge on nanoparticles can lead to morphological control and appropriate growth rates of biominerals. Rather than conventional nucleation and growth, assembly of nanoparticles may provide alternative mechanisms for crystal growth. The Ostwald step rule, based on a thermodynamic view of nucleation and growth, is supported by the observation that more metastable phases tend to have lower surface energies. Examples from nonbiological systems, stressing the interplay of thermodynamic and kinetic factors, illustrate features potentially important to biomineralization.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Aug 17 2004|
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