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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Thermodynamic and Kinetic Parameters for Calcite Nucleation on Peptoid and Model Scaffolds: A Step toward Nacre Mimicry.

  • Author(s): Nielsen, Anne R;
  • Jelavić, Stanislav;
  • Murray, Daniel;
  • Rad, Behzad;
  • Andersson, Martin P;
  • Ceccato, Marcel;
  • Mitchell, Andrew C;
  • Stipp, Susan LS;
  • Zuckermann, Ronald N;
  • Sand, Karina K
  • et al.

The production of novel composite materials, assembled using biomimetic polymers known as peptoids (N-substituted glycines) to nucleate CaCO3, can open new pathways for advanced material design. However, a better understanding of the heterogeneous CaCO3 nucleation process is a necessary first step. We determined the thermodynamic and kinetic parameters for calcite nucleation on self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of nanosheet-forming peptoid polymers and simpler, alkanethiol analogues. We used nucleation rate studies to determine the net interfacial free energy (γ net) for the peptoid-calcite interface and for SAMs terminated with carboxyl headgroups, amine headgroups, or a mix of the two. We compared the results with γ net determined from dynamic force spectroscopy (DFS) and from density functional theory (DFT), using COSMO-RS simulations. Calcite nucleation has a lower thermodynamic barrier on the peptoid surface than on carboxyl and amine SAMs. From the relationship between nucleation rate (J 0) and saturation state, we found that under low-saturation conditions, i.e. <3.3 (pH 9.0), nucleation on the peptoid substrate was faster than that on all of the model surfaces, indicating a thermodynamic drive toward heterogeneous nucleation. When they are taken together, our results indicate that nanosheet-forming peptoid monolayers can serve as an organic template for CaCO3 polymorph growth.

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