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Thursday, July 05, 2012
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)


Biologically Controlled Assembly of Mother-of-Pearl

Susan Coppersmith
Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Nacre, or mother-of-pearl, is a layered biomineral composite. It is widely studied because of its self-assembled, efficient and accurately ordered architecture, its toughness, and its fascinating and poorly understood formation mechanisms. The aragonite crystal tablets in nacre orient so that their c-axes are aligned perpendicular to the layers. Our data, obtained a novel experimental technique, support a new theoretical model in which the orientational ordering is established dynamically, and the organism's control of tablet orientation occurs via regulation of the kinetics of crystal nucleation and growth.

Host: Robert Ecke, CNLS, 667-1444,