Biominerals, such as bone or sea shells combine light weight structures with dedicated functional properties (mechanical, optical, magnetic) that are often unrivalled by man-made materials. This is particularly intriguing when considering that these materials are grown under mild conditions using a limited selection of available elements. Living organisms have developed elaborate mechanisms to construct sophisticated mineral architectures optimized at several hierarchical levels the macroscopic down to the molecular scale and can exert an astonishing degree of control over the size, shape, texture and even polymorph of minerals. While Nature’s dexterity in using organic matrices and compartmentalization to generate bio-inorganic hybrid materials with internal interfaces on the nanometer level and a high degree of structural organization remains unmatched in synthetic systems, substantial progress has been made over the last years in translating some key concepts of biological mineralization into synthetic materials. The implementation of such design principles as well as the integration of biological components such as biomacromolecules or even pre-assembled supramolecular structures into functional devices holds enormous potential for the development of low-temperature routes to novel materials targeting a wide range of functional properties Besides a strong focus on the intricate, often hierarchically organized structures of biominerals and their resulting properties, the scope of this symposium will encompass current synthetic approaches to mimic the structural complexity of biogenic crystals in artificial systems. The proposed symposium further aims to explore structure-property relationships in these materials and will highlight the emerging research area of monitoring mineralization processes in situ by newly developed analytical tools, where these techniques - in conjunction with modelling and simulation- currently significantly extend the frontiers of our understanding of crystal nucleation and growth processes in the absence or presence of organic matrices. Due to the inherently multidisciplinary nature of the topic the symposium seeks to bring together researchers across the fields of materials science, biology, chemistry and physics in order to provide a forum for stimulating discussions on crystallization both in vivo and in vitro.

Symposium Topics

  • Design principles in biological minerals (e.g. hierarchical architectures, nanocomposite structures, bio/inorganic interfaces)
  • Bio-inspired strategies for the preparation of meso-and nanostructured (bio)organic-inorganic composites
  • Mechanisms of biological and bio-inspired mineralization (e.g. nucleation and growth, mineral precursors, particle-based crystallization)
  • Physical and physicochemical properties of biominerals
  • Functional properties and applications of bio-inspired materials (e.g. mechanical, optical, magnetic, and photonic properties, sensors, catalysts)
  • Ultrastructure characterization using high resolution analytical tools
  • Advanced in-situ analysis techniques to study the early stages of mineralization
  • Multiscale modelling of crystallization processes

Invited Speakers

Jose Arias, University of Chile, Chile

Giuseppe Falini, University of Bologna, Italy

P.U.P.A. Gilbert, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

Nils Kröger, B Cube, Technical University Dresden, Germany

Hanying Li, Zhejiang University, P. R. China

Yi-Yeoun Kim, University of Leeds, UK

Boaz Pokroy, Technion, Israel

Wolfgang Tremel, JGU Mainz, Germany