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Extreme biomimetics: Preservation of molecular detail in centimeter-scale samples of biological meshes laid down by sponges

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Simon,  Paul
Paul Simon, Chemical Metal Science, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Max Planck Society;

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Petrenko, I., Summers, A. P., Simon, P., Zoltowska-Aksamitowska, S., Motylenko, M., Schimpf, C., et al. (2019). Extreme biomimetics: Preservation of molecular detail in centimeter-scale samples of biological meshes laid down by sponges. Science Advances, 5(10): eaax2805, pp. 1-11. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aax2805.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-1A3E-A
Abstract
Fabrication of biomimetic materials and scaffolds is usually a micro- or even nanoscale process; however, most testing and all manufacturing require larger-scale synthesis of nanoscale features. Here, we propose the utilization of naturally prefabricated three-dimensional (3D) spongin scaffolds that preserve molecular detail across centimeter-scale samples. The fine-scale structure of this collagenous resource is stable at temperatures of up to 1200 degrees C and can produce up to 4 x 10-cm-large 3D microfibrous and nanoporous turbostratic graphite. Our findings highlight the fact that this turbostratic graphite is exceptional at preserving the nanostructural features typical for triple-helix collagen. The resulting carbon sponge resembles the shape and unique microarchitecture of the original spongin scaffold. Copper electroplating of the obtained composite leads to a hybrid material with excellent catalytic performance with respect to the reduction of p-nitrophenol in both freshwater and marine environments.