5 years ago

Revealing crystalline domains in a mollusc shell single-crystalline prism

Revealing crystalline domains in a mollusc shell single-crystalline prism
M. Burghammer, P. Godard, J. Daillant, P. Guenoun, J. Nouet, J. Duboisset, M. Allain, V. Chamard, C. Chevallard, F. Mastropietro
Biomineralization integrates complex processes leading to an extraordinary diversity of calcareous biomineral crystalline architectures, in intriguing contrast with the consistent presence of a sub-micrometric granular structure. Hence, gaining access to the crystalline architecture at the mesoscale, that is, over a few granules, is key to building realistic biomineralization scenarios. Here we provide the nanoscale spatial arrangement of the crystalline structure within the ‘single-crystalline’ prisms of the prismatic layer of a Pinctada margaritifera shell, exploiting three-dimensional X-ray Bragg ptychography microscopy. We reveal the details of the mesocrystalline organization, evidencing a crystalline coherence extending over a few granules. We additionally prove the existence of larger iso-oriented crystalline domains, slightly misoriented with respect to each other, around one unique rotation axis, and whose shapes are correlated with iso-strain domains. The highlighted mesocrystalline properties support recent biomineralization models involving partial fusion of oriented nanoparticle assembly and/or liquid droplet precursors.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmat4937

DOI: 10.1038/nmat4937

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