Coherently aligned nanoparticles within a biogenic single crystal: A biological prestressing strategy

Iryna Polishchuk, Avigail Aronhime Bracha, Leonid Bloch, Davide Levy, Stas Kozachkevich, Yael Etinger-Geller, Yaron Kauffmann, Manfred Burghammer, Carlotta Giacobbe, Julie Villanova, Gordon Hendler, Chang Yu Sun, Anthony J. Giuffre, Matthew A. Marcus, Lakshminath Kundanati, Paul Zaslansky, Nicola M. Pugno, Pupa U.P.A. Gilbert, Alex Katsman, Boaz Pokroy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In contrast to synthetic materials, materials produced by organisms are formed in ambient conditions and with a limited selection of elements. Nevertheless, living organisms reveal elegant strategies for achieving specific functions, ranging from skeletal support to mastication, from sensors and defensive tools to optical function. Using state-of-the-art characterization techniques, we present a biostrategy for strengthening and toughening the otherwise brittle calcite optical lenses found in the brittlestar Ophiocoma wendtii. This intriguing process uses coherent nanoprecipitates to induce compressive stresses on the host matrix, functionally resembling the Guinier–Preston zones known in classical metallurgy. We believe that these calcitic nanoparticles, being rich in magnesium, segregate during or just after transformation from amorphous to crystalline phase, similarly to segregation behavior from a supersaturated quenched alloy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1294-1298
Number of pages5
Issue number6368
StatePublished - 8 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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