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

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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 (γnet) 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 γnet 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 (J0) 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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCrystal Growth and Design
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)3762-3771
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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