Biopolymer-Directed Magnetic Composites
The question investigated in this chapter is: Can a material obtain the advantageous material properties of multiple biominerals, when the structural elements in each model biomineral, which are responsible for these properties, are combined into one new bioinspired material? Drawing inspiration from the natural biominerals nacre, chiton teeth, and bacterial magnetosomes, a model material, containing a magnetite-gelatin composite, filling a layered scaffold extracted from natural nacre, can be synthesized.
The biopolymer gelatin has a distinct influence on the size and shape of magnetite mineralized at ambient conditions. In the gel state, gelatin can be mineralized to form superpara- and ferrimagnetic gels with tunable particle size. The ferrogel synthesis can also be transferred into demineralized nacre scaffolds, yielding layered hybrid composites.
Besides more common analytical methods, SANS is used to investigate the structure of organic and inorganic phases individually, and molecular simulations following the Kawska-Zahn approach are employed to gain insight into the earliest stages of nucleation.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support by the DFG priority program “Multifunctional Layered Magnetite Composites” (SPP1569). We want to thank Dirk Zahn and Tina Kollmann from the University of Erlangen for the simulation studies; Baohu Wu, Vitaliy Pipich, and Dietmar Schwahn from JCNS/MLZ for the scattering studies; and Damien Faivre from MPI Golm for support with the material design and early magnetite syntheses.
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