Biological matrices can direct the absolute alignment of inorganic crystals such as calcite. Cooperative effects at an organic-inorganic interface resulted in similar co-alignment of calcite at polymeric Langmuir-Schaefer films of 10,12-pentacosadiynoic acid (p-PDA). The films nucleated calcite at the (012) face, and the crystals were co-aligned with respect to the polymer's conjugated backbone. At the same time, the p-PDA alkyl side chains reorganized to optimize the stereochemical fit to the calcite structure, as visualized by changes in the optical spectrum of the polymer. These results indicate the kinds of interactions that may occur in biological systems where large arrays of crystals are co-aligned.
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