Biologically Controlled Assembly of Mother-of-Pearl

TYPETheor./Math. Physics Seminar
Speaker:Prof. Susan Coppersmith
Affiliation:Wisconsin University, Madison
Location:Lewiner Seminar Room (412)
Abstract:Nacre, or mother-of-pearl, is a layered biomineral composite. It is widely studied because of its self-assembled, efficient and accurately ordered architecture, its toughness, and its fascinating and poorly understood formation mechanisms.

The aragonite crystal tablets in nacre orient so that their c-axes are aligned perpendicular to the layers. Our data, obtained a novel experimental technique, support a new theoretical model in which the orientational ordering is established dynamically, and the organism's control of tablet orientation occurs via regulation of the kinetics of crystal nucleation and growth.