Biomineralization-inspired synthesis of functional organic/inorganic hybrid materials: organic molecular control of self-organization of hybrids
Organisms produce various organic/inorganic hybrid materials, which are called biominerals. They form through the self-organization of organic molecules and inorganic elements under ambient conditions. Biominerals often have highly organized and hierarchical structures from nanometer to macroscopic length scales, resulting in their remarkable physical and chemical properties that cannot be obtained by simple accumulation of their organic and inorganic constituents. These observations motivate us to create novel functional materials exhibiting properties superior to conventional materials—both synthetic and natural. Herein, we introduce recent progress in understanding biomineralization processes at the molecular level and the development of organic/inorganic hybrid materials by these processes. We specifically outline fundamental molecular studies on silica, iron oxide, and calcium carbonate biomineralization and describe material synthesis based on these mechanisms. These approaches allow us to design a variety of advanced hybrid materials with desired morphologies, sizes, compositions, and structures through environmentally friendly synthetic routes using functions of organic molecules.