Mesocrystals in Biominerals and Colloidal Arrays
Number of Authors: 4
2015 (English)In: Accounts of Chemical Research, ISSN 0001-4842, E-ISSN 1520-4898, Vol. 48, no 5, 1391-1402 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Mesocrystals, which originally was a term to designate superstructures of nanocrystals with a common crystallographic orientation, have now evolved to a materials concept. The discovery that many biominerals are mesocrystals generated a large research interest, and it was suggested that mesocrystals result in better mechanical performance and optical properties compared to single crystalline structures. Mesocrystalline biominerals are mainly found in spines or shells, which have to be mechanically optimized for protection or as a load-bearing skeleton. Important examples include red coral and sea urchin spine as well as bones. Mesocrystals can also be formed from purely synthetic components. Biomimetic mineralization and assembly have been used to produce mesocrystals, sometimes with complex hierarchical structures. Important examples include the fluorapatite mesocrystals with gelatin as the structural matrix, and mesocrystalline calcite spicules with impressive strength and flexibility that could be synthesized using silicatein protein fibers as template for calcium carbonate deposition. Self-assembly of nanocrystals can also result in mesocrystals if the nanocrystals have a well-defined size and shape and the assembly conditions are tuned to allow the nanoparticles to align crystallographically. Mesocrystals formed by assembly of monodisperse metallic, semiconducting, and magnetic nanocrystals are a type of colloidal crystal with a well-defined structure on both the atomic and mesoscopic length scale. Mesocrystals typically are hybrid materials between crystalline nanoparticles and interspacing amorphous organic or inorganic layers. This structure allows to combine disparate materials like hard but brittle nanocrystals with a soft and ductile amorphous material, enabling a mechanically optimized structural design as realized in the sea urchin spicule. Furthermore, rnesocrystals can combine the properties of individual nanocrystals like the optical quantum size effect, surface plasmon resonance, and size dependent magnetic properties with a mesostructure and morphology tailored for specific applications. Indeed, mesocrystals composed of crystallographically aligned polyhedral or rodlike nanocrystals with anisotropic properties can be materials with strongly directional properties and novel collective emergent properties. An additional advantage of mesocrystals is that they can combine the properties of nanoparticles with a structure on the micro- or macroscale allowing for much easier handling. In this Account, we propose that mesocrystals are defined as a nanostructured material with a defined long-range order on the atomic scale, which can be inferred from the existence of an essentially sharp wide-angle diffraction pattern (with sharp Bragg peaks) together with clear evidence that the material consists of individual nanoparticle building units. We will give several examples of mesocrystals and discuss the structural characteristics for biominerals, biomimetic materials, and colloidal arrays of nanocrystals. The potential of the mesocrystal materials concept in other areas will be discussed and future developments envisioned.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 48, no 5, 1391-1402 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-118545DOI: 10.1021/ar500440bISI: 000355055700019OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-118545DiVA: diva2:846598