An organic hydrogel as a matrix for the growth of calcite crystals

Lara A. Estroff, Lia Addadi, Steve Weiner, Andrew D. Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The growth of calcite in an aqueous gel of 1 was studied and the appearance of the crystals was found to change over time. Crystals removed from the gel at progressively longer times showed severely affected surfaces resulting from dissolution. If crystals were removed from the gel after 3.5 hours, at which point there were no etch pits, and then placed in either buffer or pure water, etch pits, similar to those observed on crystals that are left in the gel, were observed. Control calcite crystals exposed to similar conditions (water or buffer) show no significant dissolution after equivalent times. A probable cause of the altered dissolution is the non-specific occlusion of gelator aggregates at sites of imperfection. The gel appears to provide a microenvironment in which the molecules that form the matrix also participate in the crystallization. This system allows the study of the unique properties of a gel for influencing the nucleation and growth of inorganic crystals, some of which may be important for better understanding biomineralization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-141
Number of pages5
JournalOrganic and Biomolecular Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 7 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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