Organic–Inorganic Hybrid Biomaterials
Over millions of years of evolution nature has produced structures such as bone, tooth and nacre that are durable and mechanically strong while also performing a multitude of other biological functions. Inspired by nature, chemists and materials scientists have been employing bottom-up soft chemistry approaches to synthesise organic–inorganic hybrid materials which show much promise in mimicking nature's complexity. Organic–inorganic hybrid materials are defined as ‘multifunctional organised matter’ that has molecularly interpenetrating networks of organic and inorganic moieties where no distinct phase boundaries are observable at the nano-to-macro scale. In this chapter, we introduce the different classes of organic–inorganic hybrid materials, the various organic and inorganic precursors used to synthesise hybrid biomaterials and their structure–property relationships.