Submerged atomic resolution imaging of calcium carbonate crystal surface

Sep 05, 2011 By Mikiko Tanifuji
Atomic sequences of a calcite (1014) surface and an aragonite (001) surface along with their model drawings (bottom). Blue indicates the calcium atoms in calcite; red, the oxygen atoms; and green, the calcium atoms in aragonite. Credit: National Institute for Materials Science

Hard tissues of organisms, such as bones and shells, are composed of inorganic minerals (biominerals). While these substances are created by biomineralization, which will be discussed later, many uncertainties remain in the mechanism.

Research scientists at Tohoku University, Japan, have been conducting studies designed to elucidate the crystal growth mechanisms of shells, in which a calcium carbonate crystal, which is normally stable only in a high-pressure phase, is formed under normal temperature and pressure conditions. It is necessary to observe the atomic structural changes of the growing crystal surface in solution. Under such circumstances, a system capable of high-resolution surface observation in a liquid environment would be ideal.

Changes in the atomic sequence of the calcite substrate surface with an added growth solution containing the synthetic polypeptide and magnesium. The period required for one scan in this case was approximately 8 seconds. Credit: National Institute for Materials Science

Tsukamoto and Araki learned that the atomic force microscope (AFM) probe system developed by the Yamada group at Kyoto University could operate under such conditions and was available for use via the Kyoto Advanced Nanotechnology Network; an application was made for joint utilization and support. By using the FM-AFM system, based on leading-edge frequency-modulation (FM-AFM) technology, they successfully observed the crystal growth process in solution on the atomic level.

Explore further: Toward making lithium-sulfur batteries a commercial reality for a bigger energy punch

More information: nanonet.nims.go.jp/english/mag… 8-24%2FFocus%2026-18

Provided by National Institute for Materials Science

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

First images of barnacle larva's footprint

Oct 27, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- The fouling or growth of sea organisms, such as barnacles, on ships’ hulls causes damage costing many billions of euros annually. In order to prevent this fouling, In Yee Phang of the University ...

Recommended for you

A nanosized hydrogen generator

3 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Researchers at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have created a small scale "hydrogen generator" that uses light and a two-dimensional graphene platform to boost ...

For electronics beyond silicon, a new contender emerges

Sep 16, 2014

Silicon has few serious competitors as the material of choice in the electronics industry. Yet transistors, the switchable valves that control the flow of electrons in a circuit, cannot simply keep shrinking ...

Making quantum dots glow brighter

Sep 16, 2014

Researchers from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the University of Oklahoma have found a new way to control the properties of quantum dots, those tiny chunks of semiconductor material that glow ...

The future face of molecular electronics

Sep 16, 2014

The emerging field of molecular electronics could take our definition of portable to the next level, enabling the construction of tiny circuits from molecular components. In these highly efficient devices, ...

User comments : 0