Jinhui Tao’s Research

Tao Tao C.V.

Biominerals are often endowed with highly hierarchical structure, complex crystal morphology and crystallographic orientation uniformity. Such characteristics can only be understood in the viewpoint of physical principle during the initial nucleation process. In my project, I use collagen (including DMP and other peptides decorated collagen) and calcium phosphate as organic matrix and model crystal respectively to gain insight into the influence of collagen on the nucleation kinetics and phase selection of calcium phosphate. The nucleation kinetic process is monitored by in situ atomic force microscopy (AFM) and fluid cell transmission electron microscopy (TEM) while the possible phase transformation process is investigated by Raman, Fourier Transformed Infrared and X-ray spectroscopies. The gathered structural and phase information will be applied as input for further molecular dynamics (MD) and density functional theory (DFT) simulation to reveal the structure and stereochemistry of interface between collagen and calcium phosphate (hydroxyapatite as a model) in these nucleation events. The knowledge of crystal nucleation process under the modulation of organic matrix will certainly provide principles for material synthesis and assembly.