Nanoporous structure and medium-range order in synthetic amorphous calcium carbonate
A L Goodwin, F M Michel, B L Phillips, D A Keen, M T Dove and R J Reeder
Chem Mater 22, 3197–3205 (2010)
We adopt a reverse Monte Carlo refinement approach, using experimental X-ray total scattering data, to develop a structure model for synthetic, hydrated amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC). The ACC is revealed to consist of a porous calcium-rich framework that supports interconnected channels containing water and carbonate molecules. The existence of a previously unrecognized nanometer-scale channel network suggests mechanisms of how additives can be accommodated within the structure and provide temporary stabilization, as well as influence the crystallization process. Moreover, while lacking long-range order, the calcium-rich framework in the ACC contains similar Ca packing density to that present in calcite, aragonite, and vaterite, yielding clues of how the amorphous material converts into the different crystalline forms. Our results provide a new starting point for advancing our understanding of biomineralization as well as the development of biomimetic approaches to next-generation materials synthesis.