Multiscale structure of sheet nacre.

Abstract : This work was conducted on Pinctada maxima nacre (mother of pearl) in order to understand its multiscale ordering and the role of the organic matrix in its structure. Intermittent-contact atomic force microscopy with phase detection imaging reveals a nanostructure within the tablet. A continuous organic framework divides each tablet into nanograins. Their shape is supposed to be flat with a mean extension of 45 nm. TEM performed in the darkfield mode evidences that at least part of the intracrystalline matrix is crystallized and responds like a ‘single crystal'. The tablet is a ‘hybrid composite'. The organic matrix is continuous. The mineral phase is thus finely divided still behaving as a single crystal. It is proposed that each tablet results from the coherent aggregation of nanograins keeping strictly the same crystallographic orientation thanks to a hetero-epitaxy mechanism. Finally, high-resolution TEM performed on bridges from one tablet to the next, in the overlying row, did not permit to evidence a mineral lattice but crystallized organic bridges. The same organic bridges were evidenced by SEM in the interlaminar sequence.
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Marthe Rousseau, Evelyne Lopez, Philippe Stempflé, Marcel Brendlé, Loïc Franke, et al.. Multiscale structure of sheet nacre.. Biomaterials, Elsevier, 2005, 26, pp.31 6-626. ⟨10.1016/j.biomaterials.2005.03.028⟩. ⟨hal-00023492⟩

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