Role of nanoscale confinement on calcium phosphate formation at high supersaturation
Journal article, 2015
An important factor controlling bone mineralization is spatial restriction within collagen fibrils and matrix vesicles. Such nanoscale confinements in addition to chemical control restrict the growth and final size of calcium phosphate crystals (CaP). To study the role of spatial control on CaP mineralization exclusively, we investigated formation of CaPs under high supersaturations (0.84 M Ca2+ and 2.1 M Ca2+) within ordered aqueous domains (8-27 nm) of polymerized liquid crystals (PLCs). The mineralization of CaPs was achieved by a pressurized gas induced pH rise. CaPs mineralized within varying degrees of confinements showed contrasting results. Confinements 10 nm mediated the formation of CaPs to phase pure calcium apatite (CaAp), while confinements between 11 and 27 nm resulted in a mixture of phases such as CaAp, amorphous calcium phosphates (ACP), and acidic polymorphs such as brushite and monetite. Results indicated that smaller confinements offer a low particle/solution interface effectively forming small nucleation clusters leading to a metastable ACP phase. We suggest that CaP formation from high supersaturations strongly depends on the degree of confinement around the nucleation site to efficiently control the mineral phase purity. Moreover, a possible insight from this study is that synthetic and biological confinements, in addition to spatial restriction, also rely on chemical control to obtain phase pure CaPs such as bone apatite.