Macromolecular templates for the development of organic/inorganic hybrid materials

Polymer Journal 47, 235-243; doi: 10.1038/pj.2014.107; Published Online 17 December 2014


Tatsuya Nishimura

Biominerals and the formation mechanisms of these materials have been studied intensively for decades. Biominerals have attracted much attention from material scientists because these compounds have significant mechanical and optical properties because of their elaborate structures. We believe that novel functional hybrid materials with hierarchical structures are best prepared using abundant elements and mild conditions, similar to the formation of natural biominerals. This review focuses on using an organic (bio)polymer for the formation of these hybrid materials based on CaCO3 and on understanding the formation of new hybrid materials via bio-inspired approaches. The structure–function relationships of biomineralization-related proteins are discussed. Molecular designs to control the properties of the hybrid materials are also described. The combination of experimentation and molecular simulation is also introduced. These studies provide useful ideas for the development of hybrid materials through biomimetic approaches.