Direct Fabrication of Large Micropatterned Single Crystals

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Science  21 Feb 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5610, pp. 1205-1208
DOI: 10.1126/science.1079204

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Micropatterning of single crystals for technological applications is a complex, multistep process. Nature provides alternative fabrication strategies, when crystals with exquisite micro-ornamentation directly develop within preorganized frameworks. We report a bio-inspired approach to growing large micropatterned single crystals. Micropatterned templates organically modified to induce the formation of metastable amorphous calcium carbonate were imprinted with calcite nucleation sites. The template-directed deposition and crystallization of the amorphous phase resulted in the fabrication of millimeter-sized single calcite crystals with sub–10-μm patterns and controlled crystallographic orientation. We suggest that in addition to regulating the shape, micropatterned frameworks act as sites for stress and impurity release during the amorphous-to-crystalline transition. The proposed mechanisms may have direct biological relevance and broad implications in materials synthesis.

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